Par Committee suggests more powers for CBI, amendment to DSPE Act

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New Delhi, March 11 (UNI) In an attempt to reform the functioning of overburdened CBI, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice has recommended that the agency be granted statutory powers to take suo-motu cognisance of crimes and it be taken out of the purview of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act 1946.

In its 24th report on the ''Working of Central Bureau of Investigation'' tabled in Parliament today, the Committee, headed by Rajya Member E M S Natchiappan, suggested that a statute be enacted granting the agency powers to play a proactive role in collection of intelligence, creating institutional memory and capacity building.

The Committee said the statute will empower the Centre to address the present environment of terrorism, violence and crimes which threaten the Indian democracy with more powers and accountability.

''Its high time that we have demarcation of federal crimes and state-level incidents... The amendment will rectify the present situation wherein the Centre is handicapped in the name of federalism, from making use of intelligence they gather, thereby failing to prevent the crime and punish the criminals,'' Dr Natchiappan told reporters.

A separate Anti-Terrorism Division should be created within the CBI to ensure conviction in such cases without delay, he added.

The Chairman said prosecution process should be separate from investigation.

He said the powers given to CBI, which was enlisted in the Union list as the Central Bureau of Intelligence and Investigation, under the DSPE Act were not upgraded or amended after the commencement of the Constitution with corresponding entries in the Union, State and Concurrent List.

''Enabling a legislation for CBI will be a major step towards evolving it into an independent and accountable agency which specializes in investigation and prosecution,'' he added.

The Chairman said the Report may be formulated as the source for the Central Bureau of Intelligence and Investigation Bill and that the DSPE Act be amended to take CBI out of its purview or may even be amended.

The 28-member Committee, which began its work in September 2004, also recommended that the agency be strengthened in terms of resources and legal mandate.

The Chairman said timely appointment of Judges should be made in exclusive CBI courts and that a time-bound plan be envisaged and implemented to minimise pendency of cases.

The Committee said it is of the view that less dependence should be placed on deputation and that the deputation policy be so framed that it does not adversely affect the promotion prospects of direct CBI officers.

Expressing concern over the prevailing vacancies in CBI, it recommended that steps be taken on war footing basis to fill up vacancies within three months.

It recommended that latest world class gadgets be provided to the CBI personnel to ensure smooth and timely proper execution of their work and that the agency has strong in-house Research and Development wing.

Besides, providing Forensic labs with state-of-the art technology.

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