London: Finance Minister P Chidambaram has said that the expert panel formed by the government will work towards giving CBI functional autonomy, but at the same time warned that accountability is important.
"We will give the CBI functional autonomy. But all over the world - all bodies are accountable to somebody - they are accountable to executive, they are accountable to the legislature, they are accountable to the courts. I think what we have to ensure is that no one interferes with the investigations of the CBI," Mr Chidambaram told NDTV in London.
The Supreme Court had last week castigated the government for interfering with the CBI's investigations in the coal scam. A livid court even observed that the agency is a "caged parrot that has many masters." After the severe reprimand, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh constituted a Group of Ministers, headed by Mr Chidambaram, to decide the plan of action to secure the autonomy of the CBI.
Speaking on the issue of corruption, Mr Chidambaram said that it is not only India's story; in every country corruption allegations are common.
"One minister resigned not because of corruption but because of an allegation that he interfered with an investigation. The other minister resigned on moral grounds, there is no charge against him yet, no evidence against him yet," Mr Chidambaram said while speaking about the resignations of Pawan Bansal and Ashwani Kumar.
While Mr Bansal resigned as Railways Minister after the arrest of his nephew Vijay Singla for allegedly accepting Rs. 90 lakh for fixing promotion in Railway Board, Mr Kumar quit as Law Minister in the wake of a raging controversy over his vetting the CBI probe report in the coal block allocations scam.
When asked about next year's general elections and his reluctance to put himself forward as a prime ministerial candidate, Mr Chidambaram said, "I am quite happy if you call it lack of ambition. So let's say lack of ambition."