After telling the Supreme Court on Thursday that charges against him are “patently false”, an embattled CBI director Ranjit Sinha has decided to file a perjury case against Prashant Bhushan.
“Director Ranjit Sinha, on the basis of legal advice, has decided to file the case of perjury for malicious, deliberate and intentional false statement made before the apex court,” a CBI spokesperson said in the evening. Sinha has been in the midst of a controversy over leaked documents which showed details of visitors, including representatives of companies involved in 2G spectrum and coal scam, Sinha has been in the midst of a controversy over leaked documents which showed details of visitors meeting the CBI chief at his home office.
“Let him file,” Bhushan told Business Standard. Bhushan is representing the petitioner, the Centre for Public Interest Litigation, which had brought the matter of Sinha meeting industrialists, company officials and politicians with connection to 2G scam and coalgate to court. Last week, in an application, the petitioner sought recusal of Sinha from 2G probe. On Thursday, Common Cause, an NGO representing Bhushan asked for Sinha’s recusal from coal allocation probe as well.
Earlier in the day, Sinha had said he was ready to recuse himself from the ongoing investigation in the second generation spectrum allocation scam, if Supreme Court passed such an order.
Sinha’s counsel had told the court CBI chief’s reputation was being tarnished “without anybody taking responsibility.” He asserted that he can demonstrate from records that the allegations are not true. He asked for restraint on the media but the bench headed by Justice H L Dattu declined to pass any gag order.
The judges asked Bhushan, who had handed over the damaging documents to the court two days ago, to file a proper application with an affidavit affirming their contents. The bench will sit specially on Monday morning to hear the case again. The documents will remain in sealed cover in the court and none of the parties will have access to it. The central government also has been denied permission to see them.
The crucial document is the entry register at the residence of Sinha. According to several leaks over the week, it contains names of industrialists, company officials and politicians.
The court stated that in a sensitive case like this, it cannot go forward without an affidavit from the Centre for Public Interest Litigation, represented by Bhushan. It rejected the objection of Sinha’s lawyer that the application was not maintainable as the source of the documents has not been disclosed. The judges said the registry knows the rules and will abide by it.
Counsel for Sinha pleaded for an order against further disclosures in the next four days as there was “huge invasion of privacy” of a dignitary. However, the judges said that the court has no control over what media reports; it can only regulate court proceedings. “The press knows its freedom; we expect it will show responsibility in such a sensitive matter,” the judges observed.
The court proceedings relate to CPIL’s application seeking the recusal of Sinha from all 2G spectrum probe as he was allegedly trying to protect influential persons. It is based on the register entries involving 2G spectrum scam. The coalgate application of Common Cause will be heard on Tuesday by another bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha.
It was on the basis of the CPIL petition that the court had cancelled 122 telecom licences two years ago for irregularities in allocation of spectrum.