The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is waiting to ascertain its new role in the context of the new Lok Pal law.
“We will have to see how Lok Pal evolves and where will CBI figure, after the President gives his assent and it becomes an Act,” CBI Director Ranjit Sinha said.
CBI, he said, was certain to see a rise in the number of cases, as these would now be referred to it by the new Lok Pal, too. “There would be little scope to register cases suo motu (on one’s own initiative). We already get cases from Central Vigilance Commission, etc,” Sinha said.
He was also concerned at the prospect of duplicity of cases being probed among various government agencies. “A proper mechanism is yet to be evolved after discussion,” he added. The agency handles 1,000 -1,200 cases a year through its 2,500 investigation officers. There is a personnel shortage of around 50 per cent in CBI.
The Lok Pal Bill was passed by Parliament last week. It says a new directorate of prosecution is to be formed to ensure CBI independence. Appointment of the director of prosecution would be on the recommendation of the Central Vigilance Commissioner. And, a CBI director is to be appointed on the recommendation of a committee chaired by the prime minister; it will also have the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India or a judge of the Supreme Court nominated by him/her. Presently, the central government alone decides.
The proposed Lok Pal will consist of a chairperson and a maximum of eight members, of which half would be having a judicial background. Fifty per cent of the members would be from among scheduled castes and tribes, other backward classes, minorities and women.
CBI, meanwhile, is expected to register two more cases in the coal block allocation scam. The agency has got all the files it had sought from the coal ministry; sources said there were no more “missing files” in this case. The agency is also likely to close its probe in some of the allocations. An official said of all the 195 coal blocks under probe, no instance of criminality had been found in several the enquiry into these could now be closed.