AP Singh to bat for 'undivided' CBI at Parliamentary Panel meet today

When Anna Hazare and his team had pitched tents in Delhi’s Ramlila Grounds last month, the new CBI headquarters was quietly educating its officers through talks and debates on the Jan Lokpal Bill. The CBI worries that Team Anna wants to clip its wings. Team Anna has proposed that CBI’s most coveted 'Anti-Corruption wing be brought directly under the Jan Lok Pal.

After intense deliberations, CBI Director A P Singh is set to declare before the Standing Committee chaired by Abhishek Manu Singhvi today that the CBI is ready to work under any body, including Jan Lokpal, without 'compromising its integrity and autonomy'.

 AP Singh to bat for undivided CBI at Parliamentary Panel meet today

A divide in the CBI is unacceptable, this was the unanimous advise to CBI Director A P Singh and he is likely to echo the same in front of the Standing Committee. Photo: cbi.nic.in

This means CBI wants to remain 'undivided'. It also means that the CBI doesn’t mind if the Lok Pal replaces its present authority, Ministry of Personnel (read the Prime Minister’s Office). Clever on the part of A P Singh! He now smartly leaves the ball in Prime Minister Manmohn Singh’s court, knowing well that the government will never say 'yes' to the Lokpal’s control over the entire CBI.

If the argument for a unified CBI finds takers in the Standing Committee, it will then become very difficult for Team Anna to wrestle the initiative back on bringing just the Anti-Corruption Wing under the Jan Lokpal. This is perhaps, the first of many reality moments that Team Anna might face in parsing out a complex bureaucracy.

About a fortnight ago, when the Anna team was roaring from the Ramlila Grounds, former CVCs, like Pratyush Sinha, and former CBI Directors, like Vijay Karan, Trinath Mishra, P C Sharma and Vijay Shanker delivered lectures to a packed staff at the conference hall of the new CBI headquarters. Only officers of SP level and above were allowed to attend these talks. Former CVCs and Directors in unison opposed any division of the CBI.

"Dinosaurs died under their own weight and not because of some climatic changes. If you create another huge structure by borrowing work force from CBI and other investigative and government offices, it will perish under its own weight," former CVC Pratyush Sinha reportedly said. Creation of another mammoth organization with no work force of its own will weaken the investigative wing, the speakers argued.

Speaker after speaker insisted that CBI has earned a reputation despite a hostile atmosphere. If the CBI needs anything today it is that the Central Government should empower it more and more. A divide in the CBI is unacceptable, this was the unanimous advise to CBI Director A P Singh and he is likely to echo the same in front of the Standing Committee.

Updated Date: Sep 07, 2011 10:07:03 IST