Will CBI Director, Ranjit Sinha, go without a fight?
Supreme Court's tough observations about CBI boss's list of unsavory visitors could damage the probe agency and trigger a major political crisis
Sadiq Naqvi Delhi
"The averments are serious and the CBI director can't say he won't file an affidavit," the Supreme Court bench headed by Justice HL Dattu said today while hearing the petition by Advocate Prashant Bhushan against CBI Chief Ranjit Sinha. The CBI Director had suggested that he could counter the allegations orally because of the sensitivity of the matter as the investigations in the 2G scam may stand exposed.
The court also said that it may cancel all the decisions taken by Sinha in the telecom scandal if any impropriety is found. Bhushan had earlier submitted photo copy of a register said to the be the log book of visitors to the CBI Chief’s 2, Janpath residence. The list has names of many people who are being investigated by the CBI for their role in 2G, coal and other scams that run into thousands of crores. Bhushan has alleged that Sinha was in direct touch with some of the accused in these scams and he tried to bend investigation in their favour. In his plea before the court, Bhushan submitted that the revelation "portrays a very disturbing and explosive material coming in the way, virtually interfering with the administration of justice in several sensitive cases."
The list features the likes of Moin Qureshi, a dubious Hawala dealer and a meat exporter, who is being investigated by the Income Tax department. Said to be close to the former CBI Chief AP Singh and Sinha and many politicians including former ministers in the cabinet, it is alleged that Qureshi was cutting deals and laundering money at their behest. The matter also led to a serious tug of war between the finance ministry and the apex investigating agency after the former refused to share any information on the ongoing probe. The matter was hushed up till these new revelations took the CBI Chief by surprise.
In an interview to Hardnews earlier in August, Bhushan had pointed that the CBI and the finance ministry may be blackmailing each other and that is why the new government is not very keen on bringing the probe to its conclusion. The IT officials have finished a part of the probe and the file is now with the CBDT waiting for instructions from the government.
Meanwhile, Sinha has termed the allegations as a deep rooted conspiracy against him. There could be some merit in his claims. Sources suggest the involvement of a former Delhi Police official who is said to have influenced the Delhi Police personnel manning the gates to maintain such a register. Later,he reportedly passed on this register to some corporate houses. He was shortlisted by the government to head the CBI, but a CBI inquiry against him tripped his chances. Some insiders also claim that corporate rivalries too could be at play. “There is an attempt to nullify the investigations,” a source claims. Sinha, many people say would not go without a fight and could take down some of those who do not figure in the register- and there are many. Watch out for this space