Sinha diaries: SC gives CBI chief 10 more days to respond

Central Bureau of Investigation chief Ranjit SinhaThe Supreme Court today gave Central Bureau of Investigation chief Ranjit Sinha another 10 days to respond to a petition seeking his removal from office for allegedly seeking to protect individuals and firms that the CBI is investigating on criminal charges.

The court scheduled the next hearing for 19 September.

Sinha, 61, has been accused in court by senior advocate Prashant Bhushan, acting for a clutch of petitioners. Bhushan is an activist lawyer and perhaps the last senior leader of the Aam Aadmi Party, which has been deserted by most of the activists who earlier swore by the party.

His numerous appeals led to the Supreme Court agreeing two years ago to monitor the CBI's inquiry into how and why telecom and coal resources were distributed without transparent bidding.

The petitions rely on findings by the Comptroller & Auditor General of India that the exchequer lost billions due to arbitrary allocation of telecom spectrum and 'captive' coal blocks.

The latest case hinges on a 'visitor's diary' recovered from Sinha's residence which purportedly shows that he was visited by several scam-accused persons at his residence. Sinha has denied the authenticity of the diary.

The list of visitors  as leaked to the media includes executives from Reliance Telecom, which has been charged by the CBI of offering bribes in exchange for an out-of-turn mobile network license. Other house calls allegedly featured Congress leaders whose relatives and firms have been linked to the coal scam.