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Parliament passes Bills to extend terms of CBI, ED chiefs

Union Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension Jitendra Singh said, "The entire intent is to make it more effective, more instutionalised and more democratic. This is the highest kind of virtue and integrity of this government. 

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New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday passed two Bills to extend the tenures of the Central Bureau of Iinvestigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) chiefs up to five years.

The Central Vigilance Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2021 and The Delhi Special Police Establishment (Amendment) Bill, 2021 were passed by the Upper House by voice vote, after discussion on both the Bills, in absence of Opposition members, who abstained in protest against the suspension of 12 MPs from the Rajya Sabha.

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Replying to the debate on The Central Vigilance Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2021, Union Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension Jitendra Singh said, “The entire intent is to make it more effective, more instutionalised and more democratic. This is the highest kind of virtue and integrity of this government. 

“We are making the law much more clear, candid and stipulated.”

Citing examples of several countries, including the United States where the tenure of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is 10 years, the Minister said, “The methodologies of crime have undergone a change, new technologies have come and relevance of the head of an investigation agency is that many a times, some information is privy to him. So, in the middle of an important case, if you change the head of the agency, others may not be able to carry forward in the same tone and tender. 

“In certain situations, we need to have extension of the head of agency in order to bring it to a rational and logical conclusion. The upper limit may have to be extended, to maintain the independence,” he added.

Every year, when the tenure will be increased, on record it will be written what was the reason, he informed the House.

Taking a dig at the Opposition members for not participating in the discussion, Singh said, “I wish those who had abstained, had given a thought that history may not forgive them for abstaining from this discussion.”

Member from Biju Janata Dal Amar Patnaik, AIADMK’s M Thambidurai, Asom Gana Parishad’s Birendra Prasad Baishya and others from the ruling BJP took part in the dicussion and extended support to the Bill.

“We need to strengthen the CBI more, particularly the extension of the tenure of CBI head is very important. So, for good service, his/her time should be extended,” said Baishya, defending the Bill.

Later, moving The Central Vigilance Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2021, Singh said, “This is a reiteration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment against corruption. The ED has a very crucial role in money laundering case. Other counties have a longer term, so there is a need in India also. This is not only in the interest of national security, but also in the stability of the financial structure.”

Taking part in the discussion, BJP MP Suresh Prabhu, while supporting the Bill, said, “We need to continue our fight to end black money.”

Last week, the two Bills were passed by the Lok Sabha. It replaced two ordinances brought by the Centre before the Winter Session. The Bills will enable the government to extend the tenures of the directors of CBI and ED one year at a time for up to five years from the initial date of appointment. 

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