New Delhi: Central Vigilance Commissioner Pradeep Kumar and CBI Director A P Singh on Saturday opposed any tampering with their organisations as suggested by the Anna Hazare-team as they appeared before a Parliamentary Committee examining Lokpal Bill in New Delhi.
Kumar and Singh, however favoured making the CVC and CBI Director ex-officio members of the proposed Lokpal, saying such a move would bring synergy between the anti-graft ombudsman and the two organisations.
Both Kumar and Singh told the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice, Personnel and Public Grievances that the functioning and organisational structure of CVC and CBI should remain untouched, sources said.
Kumar said CVC should continue to have jurisdiction over higher bureaucracy. “In order to have effective superintendence over vigilance administration, the CVC and the existing structure of vigilance administration should not be disturbed,” he told the Committee.
The Anna Hazare team had been demanding that CVC should come under the purview of the proposed Lokpal. The civil society activists had also been demanding that the anti-corruption wing of CBI be under Lokpal.
Singh termed suggestions for putting CBI’s anti-corruption wing under Lokpal as “retrogade” and said it would “cripple” the investigating agency, sources said.
He is learnt to have told the panel that the “severed” anti-corruption unit with Lokpal would be ineffective without the back-end support units of the CBI.
Kumar pitched for a strong and effective Lokpal which would focus on the “grand political corruption” indulged into by ministers, MPs and those civil servants conniving with their political masters, sources said.
At the same time, the CBI Director favoured the Lokpal exercising “general superintendence” on anti-corruption matters as also the powers to meet financial, administrative and legal requirements of the agency.
Singh also suggested a five-year fixed term for the post CBI Director or until he attends the age of 65, whichever is earlier.
Both Kumar and Singh told the Committee that CBI should be conferred with more administrative and functional autonomy.
The CBI Director also told the panel that there was no need for a separate investigation wing for the Lokpal as it would lead to overlapping of work and conflict of jurisdiction.
Elaborating on the composite nature of the CBI, Singh said there was no watertight compartmentalising between various wings of the agency.
In most of the places there is only one CBI branch designated as anti-corruption branch, which handles all cases, including conventional crimes, he said.
“Such place will have no infrastructure for CBI if anti-corruption branches are transferred to the Lokpal,” Singh is learnt to have told the Committee.
He also told the panel that the CBI would lose the advantage it has on drawing up on the vast talent pool of officers with different aptitudes, deputationists who bring in fresh ideas if the anti-corruption wing was subsumed in the Lokpal.