Thursday, May 14, 2015

Ex-CBI chief's meeting with scam accused at his residence highly improper: SC

The Supreme Court has ruled that former CBI director Ranjit Sinha's meeting with 2G and coal scam accused at his residence was 'grossly  improper', and directed the Central Vigilance Commission to look into the matter.

Mr. Ranjit Sinha, the Ex-Director, CBI, had met at his residence a number of persons who are the accused in various high profile cases being investigated by the CBI, such as the Telecom scam and the Coal block allocation cases. In this context, NGO Common Cause filed an application for directions, seeking the recusal of Mr. Sinha from the ongoing investigations and prosecutions related to the coal blocks allocation case.

Subsequently, credible information was received that the Income Tax Department had drawn up an appraisal report on the evidence gathered in the course of a raid on the premises of Moin Qureshi, a known Hawala operator and a frequent visitor at the residence of Mr. Sinha. Hence, an application for directions was moved to secure the production of the appraisal report, which is expected to throw light on Qureshi's interactions with Mr. Sinha and the latter's suitability to lead the investigations in the Coal Blocks Allocation cases, The application was eventually granted.

"It was inappropriate for Ranjit Sinha to have met the accused persons at his residence," the bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice A.K. Sikri said in its order on Thursday.

The Supreme Court has said that CBI director Ranjit Sinha's meeting accused persons at his house without the presence of the investigating officer was totally improper and merits further investigation as to whether the meeting compromised or influenced the investigations of the CBI. To clear the matter, the court has directed the Central Vigilance Commission to look into the matter.

Declining the plea by Common Cause for a probe by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) into the meetings, the court also rejected Sinha's plea for initiating proceedings against counsel Prashant Bhushan on the allegation of perjury.