Ready to recuse from coal scam probe, says Sinha

CBI chief complains of character assassination

Ready to recuse from coal scam probe, says Sinha

Within hours of an NGO filing a plea in the Supreme Court for keeping CBI Director Ranjit Sinha out of the coal scam probe, he expressed readiness to recuse himself from the ongoing probe in the coal scam provided the apex court ordered for it.

A non-governmental organisation — Common Cause — one of the petitioners in the case, referred to purported visitors’ register of Sinha’s official residence here, showing that he frequently met coal scam case accused being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). “I will recuse myself from coal scam investigations if Supreme Court orders so,” Sinha said.

Describing the episode on disclosure of information on his visitors as a “deliberate character assassination,” he referred to one of the visitors, Moin Qureshi, a meat exporter, facing income tax department probe as his friend and claimed that there was no criminal investigations pending against him.

Incontrovertible facts

In its application, the NGO contended there were “incontrovertible facts in the public domain” which led to the inescapable conclusion that it was necessary to remove Sinha from the case for ensuring fair and impartial investigations.

It claimed that the director met a number of times Vijay Darda, and his son Devendra Darda, being investigated in the case of illegal allocation of coal blocks. Besides, he also met Subodh Kant Sahay, former Union minister, whose brother’s company is one of the beneficiaries of the allocation of coal blocks and facing a probe.

Going into the background of the probe, the NGO’s counsel Prashant Bhushan pointed out that the CBI director had earlier in 2013 admitted before the court that not only did he share the status report with the political executive, but had also changed it at their instance.

The activist-advocate claimed that Sinha had also allegedly forced senior officers of the level of the joint directors and overruled the investigation officers and forced them to not to register FIRs or file closure reports.

“This record (visitors’ register) shows that the CBI chief had met at his residence several persons, who are the accused in prominent cases like coal blocks allocation scam, 2G scam etc., without any of the investigation officers being present.

“Many of the meetings were held late at night,” the NGO alleged, seeking direction to set up an Special Investigation Team to investigate the abuse of authority by him to scuttle inquires, investigations and prosecutions in coal block allocations and other important cases.

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