'CBI director could have demolished case'

'CBI director could have demolished case'

In the dock: Special public prosecutor's plea led to SC order for Sinha's removal

'CBI director could have demolished case'

The Supreme Court on Thursday removed CBI director Ranjit Sinha from the probe into the 2G scam largely on the basis of Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Anand Grover’s citations of the investigative bureau head abusing his position.

The SPP stated that the CBI chief had tried to hamper investigations, including by delaying the filing of charge sheets in the Aircel-Marxis deal involving several high-profile accused such as former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran. Sinha has also been charged with trying to weaken the case against Reliance and other accused.

Grover cited file notes to assert that the trial against some accused would have been “demolished” if the CBI director had his way and his instructions were followed.

While refering to Sinha’s efforts to transfer DIG Santosh Rastogi out of the probe, the court said: “We ordered that nobody will touch the 2G investigation team. When a smart man raised questions, you decided to clear the path off him. You throw him out. This is our understanding from the notes given by the SPP. Your conduct was in overreach of the court's orders.” Grover raised serious doubts about Sinha’s credibility and questioned the role of a former law minister favouring some accused.

The special public prosecutor said the trial against the accused could have collapsed if his predecessor U U Lalit, who is now an apex court judge, had heeded the CBI director’s requests.

“Our case would have been demolished. It was completely inconsistent to the stand taken by CBI in the case,” he said, referring to Sinha seeking a revision from the former SPP in the probe against Reliance Telecom Limited and Swan Telecom. Grover said that from the information he had gathered after going through file notings was “shocking” and could not be revealed in open court.

The SPP said Sinha had referred the matter of filing charge sheets to the Attorney General. Sinha’s counsel, however, claimed that this could not be described as mala fide attempt to subvert or derail a trial.