Former CBI Director Ranjit Sinha suffered a setback today when the Supreme Court today dismissed his plea seeking recall of its earlier order constituting an SIT to probe the allegations of prima facie scuttling the investigation in coal scam cases.
A bench of three judges Justices Madan B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and A K Sikri said there were no reasons to recall the order of January 23 this year in which the apex court had observed that a prima facie case was definitely made out for probing allegations of abuse of authority by Sinha when he was the CBI Director.
“We do not find any reasons to recall our order. The application is dismissed”, the bench said.
In a major development, the Supreme Court had on January 23 ordered CBI probe against Sinha for allegedly abusing his position to favour several accused in the coal scam and also for trying to influence the investigation.
“We are prima facie satisfied and convinced that Ranjit Sinha had abused his position and authority as CBI Director”, the bench had ruled.
The bench had asked CBI Director Aloke Verma to impartially probe Sinha’s role with “due earnestness” . Verma has been asked to constitute a SIT to probe Sinha and also to take the Central Vigilance Commissioner in confidence while conducting the probe. The CBI Director has also been asked to suggest composition of team and time within which he can complete the probe.
“We hope that with the change of guard in CBI, the agency would probe fairly and impartially against its ex-Director”, the bench noted.
On July 11, in a major setback to Sinha, a SC appointed panel headed by former CBI Special Director ML Sharma had told the apex court that prima facie it seems that the ex-CBI Director did try to influence probe in coal scam.
The special coal case bench headed by justice Madan B Lokur had then reserved orders on the future course of action againstSinha. Surprisingly Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi had told the bench that the Supreme Court cannot allow further action based only on committee reports. There is “no examples of him arbitrarily upturning decisions”, he said.
But Common Cause said the appointed committee provided more than adequate material for prosecution and so it was “important to probe if Sinha got any kickbacks”.
Sinha was accused of allegedly trying to scuttle the coal scam probe by shielding some of the accused and meeting people allegedly involved in investigations, as was seen from the visitors' entry register of his house. The diary had been submitted to the SC by activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan which had triggered the probe. The Sharma panel also concluded that the entry register “was genuine:.
The register had been handed over to the special bench hearing the coal scam by Bhushan, appearing for NGO Common Cause, after it was given to him by a whistleblower.
Handing over the probe to Sharma, the court had earlier termed the meetings as "wholly inappropriate".
A bench headed by Justice M B Lokur declined to make the report public and has reserved the order on if to make the report public
It is to be noted that on November 22, 2014 few days before he was to retire, Supreme Court had ordered Sinha to recuse himself from the multi-crore 2G spectrum scam inquiry and trial.
The court found “prima facie credible” the allegations that Sinha had “attempted to save” accused persons and “derail” the investigation.