New Delhi, Dec 23: The Lokpal Bill in its present form has not gone down well with the CBI whose officials feel that the autonomy of investigation has been “seriously compromised”.
Voicing their reservations over the nature of the anti-corruption bill introduced in the Lok Sabha yesterday, the officials also said the demand for greater autonomy to the central investigating agency which was the focal point of Lokpal agitation has not yielded the desired results.
They are of the view that as per the provisions of the present bill the CBI instead of gaining functional autonomy would now be required to report to an additional authority.
“This multiplicity of reporting would be a grave impediment in effective and efficient discharge of duties by CBI. This multiplicity of supervision can be taken care of only by providing more financial, administrative and legal autonomy to CBI. The Lokpal alone should exercise general superintendence in cases referred by them,” a senior official, who did not want to be named, said.
Top CBI sources feel that Police' powers to decide the outcome of investigation and file police report before the court must be protected.
“Section 20(7) of the Lokpal Bill provides for extension of Police Powers of taking final decision after investigation and filing police report in the competent court, to persons who are not police officers,” said another official.
He said this is against the provisions of 173 of the CrPC which should not be dispensed with. “The investigation agencies, including CBI, must continue to exercise full powers to take a final decision and file a police report before the competent court,” he said.
CBI officials are of the view that the “process of investigation, right from registration of FIR till filing of police report, is one single continuous process and prerogative of only the police, integrity of which needs to be protected at all times to ensure quality and fair probe”.
The senior officials are of the view that CBI could give a status report to the Lokpal and CVC on the outcome of investigation in respect of Lokpal and CVC referred matters as is being done in cases referred to CBI by courts.
They said that a provision can be incorporated to the effect that no court shall take cognisance of any charge sheet against a public servant in a case referred by Lokpal or CVC, except with the previous sanction of the Lokpal or CVC.
The agency wants Section 6A of DSPE Act must be repealed with Section 23 (1) of the Lokpal Act which provides for functional autonomy for registration and initiation of prosecution is applicable only to for Lokpal referred cases.
“For cases taken up suo-motu by the CBI, the existing requirement of prior permission under section 6A of DSPE Act remains unchanged. The act needs to be amended to repeal this provisions, as this is one of the major impediments in pursuing investigations against public servants holding positions of the rank of Joint Secretary and above,” said an official of the agency.
The agency wants that the timelimit for completion of Lokpal referred cases should be increased as present limit of six months is “unrealistic” because of complicated and voluminous nature of cases, stay on investigation by courts, probe abroad—delay in execution of Letters Rogatory, delay in getting expert opinions, delays due to absconding accused persons etc.