The Supreme Court on Monday ordered CBI chief Ranjit Sinha to respond in “black and white” to allegations that he met businessmen and politicians, under probe for wrongdoings, at his residence.
The court’s comments could spell further trouble for Sinha who admitted to meeting many of the names mentioned but denied showing any favours.
A bench of justices HL Dattu and SA Bobde took strong exception to Sinha’s decision of not filing an affidavit and countering the “serious” charges orally in the next hearing. CPIL, the NGO which is the petitioner in the 2G case, asked the court to direct Sinha to not supervise the CBI probe into the scam.
“Why don’t you want to respond on the merits?” the bench asked Sinha’s lawyer, senior advocate Vikas Singh. The court warned that failing to file a response would draw adverse inference against the CBI director.
The court, however, allowed Sinha to file two affidavits – the first objecting to CPIL’s application seeking the director’s recusal and the other countering the allegations on merits of the case. On Singh’s request, it allowed him to submit the second affidavit in a sealed cover and fixed September 15 to hear the matter.
CPIL lawyer Prashant Bhushan handed over the original guest register of Sinha’s 2, Janpath residence to the court. Bhushan said he got the ledger from a group of unidentified persons who visited his residence on Sunday night. A list of 23 officials from the ITBP and four CBI employees working at Sinha’s residence was also handed over to the court.
The CBI chief asked the court to tell Bhushan to disclose the source of all the documents, saying this was not a case involving a whistle-blower. The bench, however, said it will ask Bhushan about the source while hearing the case.
There were some lighter moments in the court as senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for 2G scam accused Shahid Balwa, said the guest register was a stolen property and the person who took it committed a theft, even if the objective was laudable. Jethmalani told the bench that it had in its custody a stolen article and even that was an offence.
At this the court clarified that the register was handed over by Bhushan and not the so-called thief.