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Coal scam probe: Sinha met some of the accused, says counsellor

india Updated: Mar 17, 2015 00:30 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
CBI chief

Both the Central Bureau of Investigation and its former director Ranjit Sinha admitted to having met some of the accused under the agency’s probe in various cases but denied that the meetings had any influence on the final decisions.

Sinha’s lawyer, senior advocate Vikas Singh said his client’s job required him to meet various people but it was not in the manner as alleged by advocate Prashant Bhushan — who is representing NGO Common Cause that has sought a probe into the alleged meetings between the former CBI boss and those accused in the coal scam.

“He never met anyone 80 to 90 times nor were the meetings at midnight,” he told a bench headed by justice MB Lokur.

A separate bench, headed by chief justice HL Dattu, had restrained Sinha from interfering with the 2G investigation after similar charges were made against him vis-à-vis the case.

Responding to Bhushan’s allegations, Singh questioned the veracity of the entries of the meetings in the visitor’s logbook at Sinha’s official residence. “Some of the entries are related to the period when he (Sinha) was out of India even. The exit times are earlier than the entry times,” the counsel argued before the bench — which said it would resume the hearing on March 23.

Earlier, CBI counsel Amarendra Sharan told the SC that the alleged secret meetings between Sinha and coal scam accused had not in any manner influenced the outcome of the probe. “Meetings per se cannot be said to influence decisions,” Sharan told the bench, which retorted “He should never have met anybody.”

The CBI counsel stated that a police officer has to take the version of an accused before forming an opinion in a case. “He has met some of the accused. It was part of his job to meet the accused. Every decision in the CBI has to be in writing. A robust system is in place. The easiest thing is to point fingers,” Sharan said seeking dismissal of the NGO’s petition.

He cited the case against industrialist and former MP Vijay Darda — one of the accused to have met Sinha when he headed the CBI — in support of his contention that the investigations were unbiased. Sharan said while Darda was accused in one case, no chargesheet was filed in two other cases due to insufficient evidence. The same, however, could not be construed as protecting him.