Ranjit Sinha, who had a tumultuous tenure of two years at the helm of affairs in CBI, retired on Tuesday in the glare of a recent controversy with Supreme Court directing him to recuse from 2G scam probe a fortnight ago.
He was accorded a farewell in Delhi at a function where he told his officers and men that all his decisions were taken in the interest of the probe agency.
"Nobody wants to leave the organisation on such a controversial note," he remarked.
Quoting South African leader Nelson Mandela, he said, "Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again."
While talking to his men, Sinha, a 1974 batch officer of Bihar cadre, said, "... But time will tell that I took decisions in the interest of the organisation."
During the function held at the CBI headquarters, he thanked the officers who spoke about his tenure in the agency and also termed him as 'dabang' (daring) leader who never interfered in the work of his juniors.
As his turn to speak came, an emotionally charged Sinha said, "I had forgotten that I have done some work also. In fact I have only seen my criticism in last few weeks in media that I forgot that I have done other work as well in 40 years of my career."
The entire hall burst into peals of laughter when Sinha thanked the media for "keeping him in headlines for days and days together".
"Right or wrong, that time will judge me," Sinha, who was the senior most IPS officer in the country with 40 years four months and 20 days of active police service, said after relinquishing his charge with the government yet to announce his successor.
Some of the officers who spoke on the occasion said Sinha was never scared of taking any decision.
As he was leaving, media personnel again approached him for a farewell comment. "I thank media for giving very wide coverage and for creating a public perception about me," he said.
Asked for any message that he wanted to give to CBI officers, he said, "I am not a saint or a politician to give any message. I am an ordinary bureaucrat." He termed his tenure as eventful and boarded a decked up official car. Sinha's tenure as CBI chief saw highs like busting of some big bribery cases involving a railway board member, chairman and managing director of a public sector bank, chief executive officer of Censor Board among others.
The lows involved criticism he faced from Supreme Court which asked him to step down from 2G probe, criticism from a special court for shoddy probe in coal scam cases, sharing of status report in coal with the then law minister Ashwani Kumar after which the agency earned the sobriquet of "caged parrot" from the apex court.
Sinha managed to get more financial powers for the CBI director's post after he informed the Supreme Court that he could not look after the basic needs of his men and had to route every application to the government.