Prashant Bhushan writes to PM for CBI chief's removal

Damning evidence: 'Diary' shows Sinha protected scam-accused, derailed investigations

Prashant Bhushan writes to PM for CBI chief's removal

Lawyer Prashant Bhushan on Friday took the issue of CBI chief Ranjit Sinha's diary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, demanding his removal for alleged abuse of official position to protect accused persons and derail investigations in high-profile scams.

Bhushan shot off a four-page letter to Modi on the “very serious and shocking revelations” in the visitor's diary accessed from Sinha's 2 Janpath official residence, saying that it reflected “very poorly” on the CBI chief's integrity and showed that Sinha had indulged in acts which are “completely unbecoming” of the senior official.

Bhushan was referring to the controversial visitors’ diary, which some sources claimed were maintained on the instructions of Sinha's wife, and said it had “quite shocking” information about Sinha meeting several scam-accused and hawala operators, “several of which took place late at night” at his residence without the presence of any investigating officer.

“The entries contain specific details, including the name of the visitor, date and time of visit and the vehicle number, which can easily be verified by ITBP personnel who were on gate duty at the residence of the Director, CBI. Their names are Inspector Vinod Singh Negi, Head Constable Rajkumar, and Constables Subhash and Khyali Ram,” said the letter.

Bhushan also named some prominent visitors to Sinha residence, including meat exporter Moin Qureshi, who is under the Income Tax Department’ scanner, Mahendra Nahata, whose name appeared in the Radia Tape case and who was examined in the 2G scam, Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Darda and his son Devendra, former Union ministers Subodh Kant Sahay and M P Rungta, (all four accused in the coal scam), former Medical Council of India chairman Ketan Desai, arrested in a graft case, Anil Agarwal from Vedanta and Sunil Bajaj from Essar.

The meetings assume importance against the backdrop of allegations that Sinha had compromised the CBI's stand in several cases. “When these facts came to light, Sinha got the CBI to issue a statement that these revelations are a lie and no such entry register exists.

Later, he issued a statement that this is tantamount to an invasion of his privacy, and that he would sue the NGO, which raised this issue before the Supreme Court in a PIL, for perjury. And then he issued a statement that some entries in the register are genuine while the others are forged.

“Finally, he changed his statement and said there is nothing wrong in meeting the accused. Then again, he has stated that he was meeting these people because you need a thief to catch a thief,” said Bhushan. He alleged in the letter that Sinha made repeated attempts to jeopardise the case against Reliance Telecom and its top officials Gautam Doshi, Hari Nair and Surendra Pipala, as well as the one against Swan Telecom and its promoter Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka.

He added that CBI Deputy Inspector General Santosh Rastogi, the investigating officer in the 2G spectrum scam case, had requested to be relieved from the investigations as the CBI director was “repeatedly trying to destroy the case”.

After this, Sinha transferred Rastogi out of the 2G case probe because of the firm stand he took. “This was done despite the Supreme Court directing the CBI and the ED not to make any change in the composition of the 2G investigation team without the leave of the Supreme Court,” said Bhushan.

Government may seek CVC report

The government is closely watching the proceedings in the Supreme Court that have focused on the conduct of CBI Director Ranjit Sinha in the light of disclosures that some accused persons in the 2G cases visited him at his residence, DHNS reports from New Delhi.

It is exploring the possibility of seeking a report from the Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) on Sinha even as the apex court is also seized of the issue.

Under the existing rules governing the tenure of the CBI chief, Sinha cannot be removed from his post before the end of his two-year tenure without a report from the CVC on the ground of misbehaviour or incapacity.

An adverse observation by the apex court on Sinha’s conduct will, of course, render his position untenable.

Though Sinha’s tenure ends on November 30, the Prime Minister’s Office has taken a serious view of the disclosures that have cast aspersion on his role in the investigation into the cases. A final call is likely to be taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself and the Department of Personnel under whom the CBI falls has given the green signal to proceed on the matter, official sources said.

Sinha suffered a setback a day ago when the apex court turned down his plea to stop the media from disclosing the identity of his visitors at his official 2, Janpath residence.

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