CBI director Ranjit Sinha whose alleged meetings with the businessmen being probed by the agency has created a storm on Thursday ruled out his resignation, saying he had done nothing wrong.
He, however, did say he would recuse himself from supervising the coal-block allocation scandal if told by the Supreme Court.
“Why should I quit? Why would I quit? Am I mad? I have not done anything wrong and so there is no question of my resignation,” Sinha told HT.
The alleged entries in the visitors’ book at his 2, Janpath residence reveal that various businessmen, political leaders and accused in a number of scams, including the coal and 2G scandals, being investigated by the CBI frequently called on Sinha in the last 15 months.
Claiming there was a conspiracy to malign him and destroy his reputation, the CBI chief said, “Some mediapersons are harassing my relatives and asking them why they met me more than two times. Some people are moving around media offices, carrying slanderous materials against me”.
But, Sinha’s attempt to gag the media failed. The Supreme Court turned down his plea to prevent newspapers and TV channels from reporting the contents of the alleged visitors’ register.
The court also asked lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who has demanded Sinha not oversee the 2G case probe, to submit the guest register in a sealed cover with an affidavit. He had told the court that entries were very disturbing and “explosive material”.
After going through a copy of the visitors’ book, the court asked it put on record, saying some of the details were important and it could only act on the information after it was formally brought to its notice. The case will be heard on September 8.
Sinha could be heading for more trouble as an NGO, Common Cause, one of the petitioners in the coal case, moved the top court, demanding he be kept away from the probe. The plea said Congress leader Vijay Darda, an accused, and his son, and former minister Subodh Kant Sahay, whose brother’s firm was an alleged beneficiary, met Sinha.
Appearing for the NGO, Bhushan said a SIT should look into the abuse of authority by Sinha to scuttle the coal block and other cases.
As the controversy raged, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told a news channel that the CBI director must maintain certain standards in view of cases the agency handled.
The CBI has dubbed the visitors’ diary as fake. Spokesperson Kanchan Prasad said, Sinha would file a case of perjury “against the petitioners” in the 2G case.
“I gave the CBI director the advice to file the perjury case against the petitioners, the NGO. In a sworn affidavit, they had made false statements in the court about the CBI’s Aircel-Maxis deal probe,” Sinha’s lawyer Vikas Singh said.
In a chargesheet filed on August 30, the CBI has accused former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran and his family of receiving R742 crore in bribe for coercing entrepreneur C Sivasankaran to sell his telecom company Aircel to Malaysia-based Maxis.
The SC had ordered a CBI probe into the 2G scandal on a petition filed by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation represented by Bhushan.