SC asks CVC to probe ex-CBI chief Ranjit Sinha's meetings with scam accused

The Supreme Court has directed the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) to assist it in investigating the alleged meetings of former CBI director Ranjit Kumar Sinha with the coal scam accused, which it termed as "completely inappropriate.''

The apex court, hearing a petition against the former CBI director for meeting with coal scam accused in the absence of investigating officers (IOs), said "further inquiry is necessary" to ascertain the fairness and impact of his conduct in the coalgate probe.

A bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur said there is merit in the allegations that Sinha met persons in the absence of investigating officers of the cases and asked the CVC to file a report on the entire issue on or before 6 July.

"We see merits in the submission. It is inappropriate on the part of CBI director to meet persons in the absence of IOs," said the bench, also comprising Justices Kurian Joseph and A K Sikri.

It also dismissed Sinha's plea seeking prosecution of lawyer Prashant Bhushan for alleged perjury.

Senior Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan had filed the plea on behalf of an NGO seeking a probe by a Special Investigating Team (SIT) against Sinha for alleged abuse of position in scuttling a probe into a coal block allocation scam case.

The NGO, Common Cause, had cited entries in the visitors' register of Sinha's residence to prove that he was meeting the high-profile accused and others associated with coal block allocation.

The NGO had sought the setting up of a court-monitored SIT investigation to ascertain "whether any consideration exchanged hands".

The bench had, on 13 April, reserved its judgement in the matter. Sinha, meanwhile, had claimed that a "hidden hand" was the "controlling mind" of Bhushan and had accused him of interfering and scuttling the probe into Coalgate.

The NGO, in its petition, had pointed out that the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) of Delhi Police had refused to lodge an FIR on its 25 November 2014 complaint and that there was a need for a court-monitored probe for alleged abuse of authority by Sinha.

Sinha had, however, rejected the NGO's claim that he and a few other senior officers of the level of joint director repeatedly overruled the investigating officers (IOs) and forced them not to register FIRs / RCs in cases where preliminary enquiries had been registered and directed closure of the cases.