The Centre today relaxed its control on the CBI and granted its director the status of a Secretary, which will give greater financial autonomy to the investigating agency that could not even buy a phone or computer without permission.
Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran is expected to inform the Supreme Court about the Centre’s decision during a hearing in the coal block allocation case today. The court will examine a status report filed by the CBI on its probe into alleged irregularities in the allocation of coal blocks.
The agency had told the court that it needs more autonomy – both functional and financial. It pleaded that it has to go to the government even for the smallest expenses.
The CBI director can now approve the spending of up to Rs. 15 crore. This means the agency will not have to take permission from the Centre every time it has to get documents translated, or wants new software or photocopies.
While hearing the coal case last year, the Supreme Court had sharply criticised the Union government for interfering in the CBI’s investigations in the coal scam. A livid court had observed that the agency is a “caged parrot that has many masters.”