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CBI director to get secy status, Govt plans to give substantial autonomy – The Economic Times

NEW DELHI: The government on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that it has decided to grant ex-officio status to the CBI director and substantial financial autonomy to CBI, taking the steam off yet another potentially damaging stand-off with the court which has been actively pushing for autonomy for the country’s premier investigating agency. “The CBI director issue has been sorted out,” Attorney General GE Vahanvati told a special bench headed by Justice RM Lodha, who will be India’s next Chief Justice after CJI P Sathasivam demits office in April. “CBI had been getting bogged down in several small things,” he conceded. “The CBI director will also get a lot of financial independence,” the A-G said. The government had dug in its heels on these two proposals, saying such overarching unsupervised powers would be a threat to the democracy. No explanation was forthcoming for this sudden government turnaround. Under the government’s proposals firmed up at a meeting held on January 10, any proposal submitted by the CBI director would be first placed before the DoPT secretary and then the minister . This would fast-track finances urgently required for investigation and prosecution. CBI had earlier, to back its claims about its financial helplessness, claimed that in an “era when school children are given laptops, the requisition of the Special Director , CBI, for a laptop had to do the rounds of the layers of scrutiny in DoPT for nearly 100 days before it was sanctioned”. Condemning an old mobile phone and purchase of a new one was approved by DoPT after layers of scrutiny over 3 years, it had claimed.
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