In SC, ex-CBI chief says he met scam-accused named in logbook
Singh was opposing a plea by NGO Common Cause seeking a probe against Sinha for allegedly derailing investigations into the coal block allocation scam, based on the purported entries in the logbook.
Former CBI director Ranjit Sinha on Monday admitted in Supreme Court for the first time that he had met some of those accused in the coal block allocation and 2G scams as indicated by the visitors logbook at his Delhi residence.
However, he argued that those meetings could not be viewed as improper or illegal since it did not influence his decision-making in any case.
Appearing on Sinha’s behalf, senior advocate Vikas Singh also told a three-judge bench, headed by Justice Madan B Lokur, that “one of the jobs of a supervisory officer was to meet the accused”.
Singh’s line was supported by the CBI which argued in court through senior advocate Amarendra Sharan: “If the meetings have no affect on the investigation and the trial, why should an inquiry be ordered?”
Singh was opposing a plea by NGO Common Cause seeking a probe against Sinha for allegedly derailing investigations into the coal block allocation scam, based on the purported entries in the logbook. The court will hear the arguments further after a week.
Another bench of the Supreme Court is considering similar allegations against Sinha in the 2G telecom scam case following a plea filed by another NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL).
On Monday, while elaborating on his position, Sinha informed court through Singh that “denying meetings will not be the correct thing to do”.
“I am proceeding on the basis that I indeed met some of these people (named in the logbook) at my residence… But there is nothing improper in these meetings since it did not influence my decisions,” Singh argued.
He added, “(But) I did not meet them 100 times as they claim. Moreover, why do I have to meet them 100 times if I want to favour someone? It could be done over the phone. Only a housekeeper or a gardener will visit a house 100 times.”
Singh tried to buttress his point by providing the example of Justice S J Mukhopadhaya who, he claimed, had once said that his house was open to everyone and that there was nothing wrong in meeting people till the time it did not influence him. Justice Mukhopadhaya, incidentally, retired as a Supreme Court judge on Saturday.
“Sinha also had an open house. People could come and meet him and it has always been like this,” Singh said.
On CBI’s behalf, Sharan contended that the petitioner was seeking to settle personal scores with Sinha “under the garb” of court proceedings and that this plea deserved to be quashed with the imposition of heavy costs.
“It is not a matter worth investigating. There is no shred of evidence to show the former director tried to protect anyone. There is no flip-flop and CBI has always been compliant with all the orders of the court,” he added.
Coal diverted with permission: CBI
The CBI has informed Supreme Court that coal was diverted from captive coal blocks allotted to Reliance ADAG’s Sasan ultra mega power project (UMPP) to certain public sector units after permission was obtained from the Centre.
Appearing for CBI, senior advocate Amarendra Sharan also said the Centre had given permission for diverting the coal following a request from the Madhya Pradesh government.
While responding to a previous query from the court on this issue, Sharan said that an appeal by Tata Power against the diversion was pending before the Supreme Court too. “We sent all the relevant files to the CVC, which sent back the files without making any recommendation,” he said.
Source:: Indian Express