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CBI chief says will hit back with perjury case against Bhushan

Terming the charges against him “patently false”, an embattled Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director Ranjit Sinha on Thursday decided to file a perjury case against lawyer Prashant Bhushan. “Director Ranjit Sinha, on the basis of legal advice, has decided to file a case of perjury for malicious, deliberate and intentional false statement made before the apex court,” said a CBI spokesperson.

When contacted by Business Standard, Bhushan said, “Let him file.” Bhushan is representing the Centre for Public Interest Litigation, the petitioner in the case.

Sinha has been in the midst of a controversy over leaked documents that showed details of visitors, including representatives of companies involved in the 2G telecom spectrum and coal block allocation scams, meeting him at his residence.

In an application last week, the Centre for Public Interest Litigation had sought Sinha be removed from the probe into the 2G spectrum scam as he was allegedly trying to protect influential people involved in the case. On Thursday, non-governmental organisation Common Cause sought Sinha’s recusal from the probe into the coal bock allocation scam, too. Common Cause’s petition will be heard on Tuesday by a bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha.

Earlier in the day, Sinha had said he was ready to recuse himself from the investigation into 2G spectrum scam if the Supreme Court passed such an order.

Sinha’s counsel told the court the CBI chief’s reputation was being tarnished “without anybody taking responsibility”. Saying he could prove the allegations weren’t true, he sought the media be restraint from bringing out reports that tarnished Sinha’s image. But this was declined by the court bench, headed by judge H L Dattu. “The press knows its freedom; we expect it will show responsibility in such a sensitive matter,” the judges said.

The judges asked Bhushan to file a proper application, with an affidavit affirming the contents. The court will take up the matter again on Monday. Till then, the documents already presented by Bhushan will be kept in sealed covers in the court and none of the parties will have access to these. The Centre has also been denied permission to see the documents.

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