New director almost exonerated Lalu

A day after Bihar cadre IPS officer Ranjit Sinha was appointed Central Bureau of India (CBI) director, his selection seems to have been mired into controversy.

While Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and her counterpart in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley on Friday asked the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to put on hold the decision to appoint Sinha the next CBI chief, the track record of the 1974-batch IPS officer shows he had a controversial tenure in Bihar, where he was posted as CBI DIG in the mid-90s.

Sinha, who started his career as ASP of Birpur, also served as SP of Saharsa, the home
district of the then chief minister, Jagannath Mishra. But he made headlines when the fodder scam came to light in 1996.

Posted as DIG, CBI in Patna, Sinha initially had reportedly refused to investigate the fodder scam citing personal reasons and proceeded to Australia on study leave for four months.

His father-in-law G Narayan, one of the senior most IPS officers in the then Lalu-Rabri regime, also came under fire as he headed the Vigilance dept as its DG then.  The Vigilance was charged with not acting timely against the fodder scam accused even though it had substantial information and evidences.Later, when Sinha returned and eventually took over the animal husbandry probe, he allegedly tried to exonerate Lalu, one of the fodder scam accused, during investigation in a couple of cases, but was reportedly overruled by his superiors.

Sinha also drew flak from the monitoring bench which the Supreme Court had appointed to oversee the fodder scam investigation. On the recommendation of Patna High Court judges SN Jha and SJ Mukhopadhya, (who were part of the monitoring bench) Sinha was shifted out of the CBI investigation team for the shoddy probe. It is said that the then de facto chief minister Lalu Prasad rewarded him by appointing Sinha’s wife, Reena Sinha, the principal of a prestigious government school in Patna, Miller High School.

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