UPA misusing CBI, GoM recommendations a farce: BJP

New Delhi, June 30 (IANS) The BJP Sunday hit out at the Congress for misusing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) while describing the recommendations by a Group of Ministers (GoM) for making the agency more independent as a “farce”.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Rajnath Singh accused the government of misusing the CBI frequently.

“The whole country knows Congress has not just misused CBI, but disregarded all constitutional organisations of the country and always tried to misuse them,” he said.

Meanwhile, party leader Arun Jaitley, in an article titled “The GOM’s Recommendations on the CBI Functioning – A Farce”, wrote: “The government made it appear as though some earth-shaking new decision had to be taken on the basis of the recommendations of the Group of Ministers.”

“The decision taken at the meeting of the cabinet does not in any way immunize the CBI from political interference,” he contended.

A GoM, headed by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, had recommended constitution of a panel of retired judges to monitor investigations by the agency to ensure that probes remain free from any external influence. The recommendations were approved by the cabinet Thursday.

Jaitley, leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha, however, said the recommendations regarding the CBI by a Select Committee of the upper house on the Lokpal bill were strong, but the government ignored them.

Among the suggestions were that the investigative wing and prosecution wing of the CBI should act independently. The director of the CBI and director of prosecution should be appointed by a collegium comprising the prime minister, leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha and the chairman of Lokpal.

They also sought that CBI’s director and director of prosecution must have a fixed term and the power of superintendence, and direction of the CBI in relation to Lokpal-referred cases must vest with the Lokpal.

The recommendations also said if an officer investigating a case is sought to be transferred for any reason whatsoever, the prior approval of the Lokpal should be required and the panel of advocates who appear for and advise the CBI should be independent of the government. They can be appointed by the director of prosecution after obtaining prior approval of the Lokpal.

“Thus, when the Supreme Court passed an order asking the government to outline the steps that it intends to take in order to immunize the CBI from political interference, the government ought to have placed the near unanimous recommendations of the Parliamentary Select Committee,” Jaitley said.

He said the suggestions by the Group of Ministers and their approval by the cabinet ignore all the above recommendations and “merely makes the CBI accountable to a panel of retired judges”, and asked who would select them.

“Most retirement jobs dished out to many retired judges have almost become an entitlement,” he said.

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