Congress defends GoM on CBI autonomy

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday described Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s announcement that a group of ministers (GoM) would be formed to suggest ways to make the CBI independent, as directed by the Supreme Court, as eyewash. The Congress said the BJP criticism was “ridiculous.”

At a press conference, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley said there was no point in discussing the autonomy of the CBI as the select committee on Lokpal had already made recommendations, some of which had been approved by the Union cabinet. The amended Lokpal Bill prescribes more autonomy for the CBI besides changes to the Delhi Police Establishment Act, which governs the investigating agency.

Defending the government, the Congress termed the BJP criticism of the government ironic.

In the Vineet Narayan vs Government of India case in 1997, the Supreme Court had said something should be done to make the CBI autonomous.  But, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government, which came to power on March 19, 1998, did nothing and sat on the apex court guidelines for about six years and two months, the Congress added.  

“Now when they are out of power, they are criticising us. It’s ridiculous,” party spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed told reporters.

The BJP also accused the Centre of politically misusing the CBI as in the “"well-planned conspiracy" of implicating Rajasthan Leader of Opposition Gulab Chand Kataria in the Sohrabuddin encounter case.

BJP president Rajnath Singh said the CBI charge sheet against Kataria is without any basis. Besides being a senior leader, he is known for his propriety and credibility. This case is being pursued by the CBI with the intention of implicating senior BJP leaders, at the behest of the Congress. The CBI had earlier charge-sheeted Amit Shah, SIngh pointed out.

Arun Jaitley also displayed CBI documents to charge that the agency wanted to "implicate" Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi through Amit Shah in 2010. He also accused the CBI of not taking action against former railway minister P awan Kumar Bansal despite having clear evidence against him.

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