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CBI director gives a miss to GoM meet on its autonomy

The CBI director, Ranjit Sinha was absent, as the Group of Ministers formed by the PM to review the Supreme Court’s observations on CBI autonomy, met for the first time, here on Thursday.

When the reason for his absence was asked, CBI officials said that director didn’t attend the meeting because it was a preliminary meeting and that whenever director’s presence would be required he will certainly be present. The CBI officials were tight-lipped on whether Sinha was asked to join the meeting or not.  This is surprising as  the CBI director has been extremely vocal on greater autonomy for the CBI. In several interviews after facing SC's wrath on sharing coal status report with law minister Ashwini Kumar, Sinha had advocated more autonomy to the agency. He had said that, 'CBI is not an autonomous body and is part of the government.' 

Union ministers P Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal, Salman Khurshid and MoS PMO V Narayanasamy were in attendance. Law minister Kapil Sibal told reporters after the GoM meeting, which was chaired by finance minster P Chidambaram that Narayanasamy briefed his colleagues on the provisions of the Delhi Police Establishment Act and the Lokpal Bill, passed earlier by the Lok Sabha but pending in the Rajya Sabha, as well as the Supreme Court judgment in the landmark Vineet Narain case that outline CBI's powers.

'We looked at scope of CBI's powers under these laws/Bills and the Vineet Narain case verdict. We will now work on how to go forward (on possible amendments to enhance CBI's autonomy)...Shinde, who did not attend today's meeting, will join the deliberations (at the next meeting),' said Sibal. The minister didn't say anything on CBI director's absence from the meeting.

The GoM - comprising Chidambaram, Sibal, external affairs minister, home minister and Narayanasamy - was constituted by Prime Minister in the wake of Supreme Court labelling CBI as the government's ‘caged parrot’ while commenting on alleged interference into CBI's ongoing investigation in the Coalgate scam. Shinde could not attend the meeting he is away in US on an official tour. The CBI will be making a presentation to the GoM soon.
MPost

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