Coal blocks allocation scam: CBI files FIR against its former chief Ranjit Sinha
A three-member Supreme Court bench had in January said it was “prima facie satisfied and convinced” that Ranjit Sinha had abused his position and authority as CBI director in the coal blocks allocation scam.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday filed an FIR against its former director Ranjit Sinha to probe accusations that he attempted to influence the coal block scam probe during his tenure as head of the agency.
This is the second time in the CBI’s history that a former director, facing criminal allegations, will be probed by the agency.
In February this year, the CBI had filed an FIR against former director AP Singh on allegations that he was favouring meat exporter Moin Qureshi, an accused in a money laundering case.
The decision to investigate Sinha comes nearly three months after the Supreme Court directed the CBI to probe the 1974 batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer. A three-member SC bench, headed by Justice Madan B Lokur, had in January stated that it was “prima facie satisfied and convinced” that Sinha had abused his position and authority as CBI director.
The apex court-appointed panel headed by special director of CBI, ML Sharma was investigating Sinha for the alleged scuttling of probe into coal block allocation scam cases. Sinha, who served as the director of the CBI from 2012 to 2014 was accused of meeting some of the accused in the coal scam that included senior politicians and businessmen. The meetings are said to have taken place at Sinha’s official residence.
Sharma was tasked to head the court appointed investigation in July 2015 based on a complaint from senior advocate Prashant Bhushan who claimed Sinha had been meeting individuals linked to 2G and coal scam case. As evidence to back his claim Bhushan had produced the visitors’ diary at Sinha’s residence.
Top sources in the probe agency told HT that the court order to probe Sinha arrived at the agency’s headquarters in the last week of March following which a joint director level officer of the CBI and an SP with the CBI were tasked to form a Special Investigation Team (SIT).
The apex court on January 23 had directed the CBI to set up a SIT to probe Sinha and had asked Alok Verma, to carry out his task of probing the former agency chief with “due earnestness”. The SC had also ordered Verma to pick two officers of his choice in the CBI to carry out a probe.
Official sources told HT that AK Sharma, currently posted as joint director in CBI, was designated to oversee the day-to-day developments of the case. Senior officials of the probe agency told HT that the officers selected by Verma for the probe were AK Sharma and CBI SP, S Kiran. Sources also told HT that the agency is likely to request the apex court for an expansion of the SIT as well.
When HT contacted Sinha he said he wasn’t aware of the latest developments on his case. “It’s a Supreme Court ordered inquiry and I would not like to comment as the matter is in court,” he said. He also said that he respected court proceedings did not want to respond to allegations against him.