Ex-CBI director Sinha dies a day after testing Covid-19 positive
Former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director Ranjit Sinha (68) passed away in Delhi on Friday, a day after he tested positive for Covid-19. “He showed no serious symptoms,” said a close friend of Sinha.
Sinha, a 1974 batch (Bihar cadre) Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, headed the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and the Railway Protection Force before his CBI tenure. His two-year term as the CBI head from 2012 to 2014 was marred by the controversy over entries in the visitors’ diary at his official residence. The entries showed he had allegedly met suspects in the alleged 2G spectrum allocation and coal scams.
The Supreme Court asked Sinha to recuse himself after details of the diary came to light. It appointed then additional director RK Dutta as in charge of the probe into the case until Sinha retired in 2014. A Delhi court in 2017 acquitted all the accused in the 2G spectrum case.
The Supreme Court called the CBI a “caged parrot” during Sinha’s tenure as it came down heavily on “political masters” for interfering with the coal scam probe. In April 2017, CBI filed a case against him under the Prevention of Corruption Act for allegedly scuttling and influencing the probe in the case. There has been no development in the case since then and no charge sheet was filed.
Sinha was decorated with the Police Medal for Meritorious Service in 1991 and the President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service in 1997.
Serving and retired CBI officers remember Sinha as an officer who did not believe much in the hierarchy and as a very approachable person expecting colleagues to speak their mind.
Anil Sinha, who worked with Ranjit Sinha and later succeeded him as CBI chief in December 2014, called the former a very affable person. “It is a sad end... Even when the whole world was going against him, he never lost his cool. He would say ‘why am I being targeted?’”
Javeed Ahmad, who was CBI’s joint director (policy) between 2012 and 2014, remembers Ranjit Sinha as a strong-headed person. “He did not shoot from others’ shoulders. He would not ask anyone to do anything for him. He would go ahead and do it himself.”
Ranjit Sinha is survived by his wife, a son, and a daughter.