CBI chief’s days numbered?
CBI chief Ranjit Sinha has been given 10 days to respond to a request in the Supreme Court that seeks his removal from office for allegedly trying to protect companies and people who his agency is investigating on criminal charges. The court has fixed the next hearing for September 19.
- Supreme Court gives Sinha 10 days to answer why he should not be removed
- He has been accused in petitions of abusing his office in coal and 2G scams
- Union Minister Jitendra Singh declines to comment on row over CBI director
New Delhi: CBI chief Ranjit Sinha has been given 10 days to respond to a request in the Supreme Court that seeks his removal from office for allegedly trying to protect companies and people who his agency is investigating on criminal charges. The court has fixed the next hearing for September 19.
Sinha, 61, has been accused in a retinue of petitions by Prashant Bhushan of abusing his office as head of the country's premier investigating agency. Bhushan is a lawyer-activist and a senior leader of the Aam Aadmi Party.
His appeals led to the Supreme Court agreeing two years ago to monitor the CBI's inquiry into how and why telecom and coal resources were distributed without a transparent bidding process. In the absence of an auction and a free-hand given to crony capitalism, the country lost lakhs of crores, the state auditor has said.
To bolster his claims against the CBI director, Bhushan has asked the Supreme Court to review a diary that recorded the visitors to Sinha's home. The list, which has been leaked to the media, allegedly includes executives from Reliance Telecom, which has been charged by the CBI of offering bribes in exchange for an out-of-turn mobile network license. Other house calls allegedly featured Congress leaders whose relatives and firms have been linked to the coal scam.
Sinha has not denied the home visits, but has said they were less frequent than claimed by some media reports, and that they did not influence him.
Bhushan has challenged that view, demanding that the CBI chief be removed and investigated.
Both the telecom and the coal scam seared the previous government headed by Dr Manmohan Singh, which was trounced in May by the BJP.
Union Minister Jitendra Singh declined to comment on the controversy over the meetings which CBI Director Ranjit Sinha is purported to have had with some of the accused in the 2G and coal-block allocation scams.
"Government will take a view as and when required," he said in reference to the row at a press conference here.
Asked whether the government was mulling any intervention in the ongoing controversy, the Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, whose ministry has administrative control of CBI, said, "I would not like to get into that question".
Verdict on coal licenses by September 26
The Supreme Court has concluded hearings on whether it should cancel the licenses for nearly 200 coal blocks which it declared illegal last month. The verdict will be delivered on or before the 26th of this month since that is the last working day for Chief Justice RM Lodha, heading the group of judges handling this case.