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SC tells Bhushan to disclose whistle-blower’s name

The Supreme Court on Monday directed Prashant Bhushan, counsel for Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), to disclose to it the name of the whistle-blower who provided file notings and entry registers to the organisation in its allegations against Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director Ranjit Sinha in the telecom scam probe. The Bench headed by H L Dattu partly conceded one main request of Sinha that the name be disclosed.

A whistle-blower informs people in authority or the public that the organisation they work for is doing something wrong or illegal.

Bhushan told the judges he would consult the whistle-blower and the governing body of CPIL about the court direction. The case will come up again on September 22.

Bhushan filed that the whistle-blower be protected as held by the court in earlier judgments. A draft law is pending the assent of Parliament, and a notification on the subject protects whistle-blowers. He said the facts have come to light and Sinha has admitted in interviews the visits of several persons named in the entry register at the official residence of the CBI chief.

Bhushan said how the information was leaked was not so important as the content. Laws have been passed in countries to protect whistle-blowers. When all facts can be verified from the documents before the court, the court should not go after the whistle-blower, Bhushan said.

Vikas Singh, counsel for Sinha, protested Bhushan’s affidavits, which he called false and forged. He wanted criminal cases initiated against CPIL. Singh said the court should ignore affidavits based on unknown sources, and it was against the court rules and judgments. “Bhushan is not above law.”

Bhushan said, “I can stake my life on the truth of the documents.” The counsel for Sinha said vested interests were planting news in the media against the CBI director to protect their favourites. A Mumbai newspaper, DNA, published details of the affidavit a day before the court hearing. Singh said all these showed the conspiracy in which even Bhushan might be protecting the accused. According to two sets of affidavits and visitors’ registers given by Bhushan to the judges, Sinha tried to stifle the prosecution of the accused in the second generation telecom spectrum scam and coalgate. Bhushan has reportedly given notings on files which showed Sinha wanted to protect Reliance and the Marans in spectrum allocations. The original entry registers given to Bhushan by persons on September 7 night contain the names of persons, including several in the accused list, who visited the CBI director.

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