Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director Ranjit Sinha on Monday found himself in deeper trouble in the Supreme Court, as the court remarked it could cancel all decisions taken by Sinha in the 2G spectrum scam probe if it was found he had tried to prevent a fair inquiry.
The observation came after counsel Prashant Bhushan handed over the original entry register from Sinha’s official residence. The Bench headed by H L Dattu, accepting the register, ordered it to be kept in a sealed cover.
Bhushan, representing Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), which moved the petition that led to cancellation of 122 telecom licences, had earlier provided photocopies of the register. On Monday, he said some people delivered the originals at his house on Sunday night. They feared these might be destroyed. The court also took the names of 23 ITBP and four CBI officials on duty at Sinha’s residence during the relevant time.
The register purportedly contains the names of top businessmen, politicians and accused persons involved in the 2G case who visited Sinha’s house. Claiming Sinha was trying to protect the accused, Bhushan has demanded his removal from probes into the 2G and coal scams.
Sinha, on his part, has alleged the documents are fake. He has moved court for action against Bhushan and CPIL Secretary Kamini Jaiswal for forgery.
The court asked Sinha to file an affidavit responding to the allegations made by Bhushan. His counsel, Vikas Singh, protested against filing of documents without verification or source. He pleaded Sinha not be asked to file an affidavit as it would affect the trial. But the judges said the court would ensure a fair trial. The case will next be taken up on Monday.
Sinha, a Bihar-cadre IPS officer, had taken charge as the CBI director in November 2012, when the 2G case trial had already started in a CBI special court.
The chargesheets related to 2G spectrum allocations had been filed under the term of A P Singh, Sinha’s predecessor at CBI. Among key people in judicial custody when Sinha took over were former telecom minister A Raja, Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam MP Kanimozhi and former telecom secretary Sidhharth Behura, besides several industrialists.
The only major 2G-related chargesheet filed in Sinha’s tenure was in the Aircel-Maxis deal -that was a different case, not related to the alleged allocation scam. Former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran and his brother and Sun TV promoter Kalanithi Maran, besides six others, were named in this chargesheet last week for allegedly accepting Rs 600 crore as bribe.
Another major event in connection with the 2G case during Sinha’s tenure was overturning of the chean chit given to the chief executives of Bharti Airtel and Vodafone during his predecessor’s term. That was done after a trial court order saying a company alone could not be held responsible for omissions and commissions and that promoters and directors should also be named.
The entire investigation into the alleged coal block allocation scam has, however, taken place with Sinha at the helm of affairs at CBI.
In a related development, the Bench asked the government to absorb Rajeshwar Singh, who has been probing several sensitive cases like 2G and the money-laundering matter, as permanent deputy director in the Enforcement Directorate, within three days.