Caged parrot remark of court is correct, says CBI chief

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New Delhi, May 9: CBI chief Ranjit Sinha today accepted that the Supreme Court's observation of calling the agency a 'caged parrot' that 'speaks in its master's voice', was correct.

"Whatever Supreme Court said is correct," Sinha said today.

"The CBI has become a caged parrot speaking in its master's voice. It's a sordid saga that there are many masters and giving unbridled power to the CBI is not possible. The CBI has become the police force and is in the administrative control of the Central government. CBI investigations have to be independent," the SC had said in its observations on Wednesday.

Yesterday, during the hearing of coal blocks allocation scam draft report and the affidavit filed by Sinha, the three-judge bench headed by Justice RM Lodha asked the government whether it was contemplating a law to make the working of the CBI independent and insulate it from extraneous intrusion and interferences.

It also made it clear that choice was with the government and in case government dithered, the court would step in.
The government was given time till July 3 to file an affidavit on steps to make the agency autonomous.

The SC censured the government saying that even after 15 years of the Vineet Narayan judgement, the "situation in the country has become much worse as far as CBI autonomy is concerned". "What is the CBI? Is it a collaborator or an investigator," the SC asked.

Attorney General GE Vahanvati, Law Minister Ashwani Kumar and the two officials of the PMO and the Coal Ministry had been accused by the CBI in its affidavit of suggesting changes to its report on coalgate.
Vahanvati, however, sought to deflect charges against him, saying that he never sought a copy of the report and that he acted as per the instructions of the Law Minister. "My meeting with CBI officials took place only on suggestions of the Law Minister," he told SC.

Expressing concern over the Centre's interference in the CBI probe in coal scam and other cases, the SC said, "No substantial progress has been made in the coal scam probe after registration of the case. The CBI must know how to stand up against all pulls and pressures by government and its officials."

The SC also directed the CBI not to share progress of probe or any report or material with anybody other than its 33-member team and Director, adding, "The CBI Director and the investigating team should have stood up and denied any access to two joint secretaries to draft status report. The court wants to know can the Law Minister ask
CBI to show details of probe or status report in a case involving people of other ministeries and PMO. Does it not subvert integrity of investigation if changes are brought in status report on suggestion of Law Minister and govt officers?"

The court said that it was the responsibility of the CBI chief to ensure that no access should be granted to any person, including Law Minister, other Union Ministers, law officers, CBI counsel and Department of Prosecution of CBI to probe in coal block scam. "The status report on probe in coalgate shall not be provided to special CBI court where FIR was registered," it said.

The apex court asked for immediate steps be taken to repatriate former DIG Ravi Kant Mishra who was investigating officer in the case and had been transferred to the Intelligence Bureau and added that it will consider various aspects, including setting up of SIT to look after the probe into the case.

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