CBI to get more autonomy, financial powers, government tells SC

In an unheralded move, the union government on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that it has decided to grant ex-officio status to the director of the Central Bureau of Investigation along with substantial financial autonomy to the CBI, what the apex court has been actively pushing for.

"The CBI director issue has been sorted out," attorney general G E Vahanvati told a special bench headed by Justice R M Lodha, who will be Chief Justice of India after CJI Sathasivam retires in April. "The CBI had been getting bogged down in several small things."

Under government proposals finalised at a cabinet meeting held on 10 January, any proposal submitted by the CBI director would be first placed before the DoPT secretary and then the home minister.

This would fast-track finances urgently required for investigation and prosecution.

Earlier, to back its claims of financial helplessness, the CBI had told the court 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."

Similarly, discarding an outdated mobile phone and purchasing of a new one was approved by DoPT after layers of scrutiny over three years, the country's premier investigating agency had said.