In a humiliation 12 days before retirement, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director Ranjit Sinha was on Thursday removed by the Supreme Court from the telecom scam cases, saying the allegations against him of protecting some accused appear to be “prima facie credible”.
“Prima facie, the allegations made in the application (by non-governmental organisation Centre for Public Interest Litigation against Sinha of scuttling a probe) are credible and required to be accepted,” the court said.
In an unprecedented order, it also handed over the telecom cases to the senior-most officer after Sinha in the probe team.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu, however, refused to pass an elaborate order on the issue, saying it would “tarnish” the “image and reputation” of the premier agency.
Even CBI counsel K K Venugopal took exception to Sinha taking the name of a senior official as the “mole” leaking documents against him.
“You are not supposed to tarnish the image of a person at the instruction of your client. You are pointing towards a person. You are justified in saying there was an insider but you should not have named the person,” the Bench told Sinha’s counsel, Vikas Singh, who had named the officer on Wednesday.
Pulling up CBI officials present in the court in support of Sinha, the Court upbraided one of them, saying, “You are not an agent of the director. You cannot be his mouthpiece. You do not need to take responsibility.”
“Why so many CBI officers are here? We are not hearing 2G (telecom) investigation case. We are hearing an application filed against the director,” it added, while asking them to leave the court room and attend to their duty.