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Opposition slams govt over ordinance to extend tenures of CBI, ED chiefs

A new ordinance brought by the government to extend the tenure of CBI and ED chiefs up to five years triggered a controversy on Monday

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New Delhi: A new ordinance brought by the government to extend the tenure of CBI and ED chiefs up to five years triggered a controversy on Monday, with several Opposition leaders questioning the need for an ordinance days ahead of the Winter Session of Parliament, and said it would compromise the autonomy of the institutions.

The Trinamool Congress moved two resolutions against the ordinances in Rajya Sabha, while Congress said it was like putting the officials “on a leash”. Communist Party of India (Marxist) in a statement said CBI and ED have been functioning as the political arm of the ruling party to advance its agenda.

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Slamming the government over the ordinance, which was signed by President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday, the Congress said it was like putting the officials “on a leash”, which would ensure “servitude” and compromise the neutrality and autonomy of the institutions. “Extending tenures of CBI, ED chiefs is an attempt to substitute servility, subordination to political masters in place of independence. Extension of tenure of CBI, ED chiefs not guaranteed, it is the opposite of security of tenure. Ordinance on extension of CBI, ED chiefs says I will keep you on probation, I will keep you on a leash, I will keep you in a master-servant relationship,” Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said.

Congress leader BK Hariprasad warned of an “elected autocracy”.

“Two brazen ordinances to extend ED & CBI Director terms from 2 to 5 years is a blot on parliamentary democracy. Why was this ordinance required when the winter session of parliament was just around the corner? We should stop India from turning into an elected autocracy,” he questioned in a tweet.

TMC Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien called it ‘brazen’.

“Two brazen Ordinances extend ED and CBI Director terms from 2 to 5 years Parliament Winter Session begins two weeks from now. Be rest assured, Opposition parties will do all it takes to stop India from turning into an elected autocracy,” O’Brien tweeted.

CPI-M in a statement said, “Both the CBI and ED have been functioning as the political arm of the ruling party to advance its agenda. Leaders of opposition parties are regularly targeted. This step is meant to further subvert the autonomy of these agencies and to make the key officers more pliable.”

“It is reprehensible that these ordinances have been promulgated on the eve of the winter session of parliament that is to commence from November 29. The BJP’s regular resort to the route of “ordinance raj” is anti-democratic,” the statement said.

The Union government has brought two ordinances to extend the tenure of Directors of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for up to five years. At present, the tenure of the chiefs of both Central agencies is two years.

The Central Vigilance Commission (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021 and The Delhi Special Police Establishment (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021 were promulgated on Sunday.

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