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SC asks NGO to back allegations against CBI director in affidavit

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Thursday asked NGO CPIL to file an affidavit in support of its documents, alleging that CBI director Ranjit Sinha met people being investigated and prosecuted by the agency in 2G and other cases at his residence over a period of time.

“After going through the document, we really feel that there is a need to put them on affidavit,” said a bench of Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice S.A.Bobde, asking counsel Prashant Bhushan to file an affidavit.

The court, asking how it could take cognizance of the documents placed before it, said that it was desirable to place them on an affidavit while directing the registry to put back the documents submitted by NGO Cente for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) in a sealed cover.

In the meantime, the court declined to consider Sinha’s plea to restrain media from carrying any reports based on the allegations made by the NGO.

Appearing for Sinha, senior counsel Vikas Singh told the court: “People like Prashant Bhushan are damaging the reputation of a very high functionary of the government.”

Singh blamed Bhushan for breaching the sanctity of the court procedure by leaking to media the document that was submitted to the court in a sealed cover.

“We are not going to take up the application (of CBI director Sinha),” the court said as the lawyer said that media was only concerned with television rating points (TRP) and “irreparable damage” was being caused to the reputation of CBI director.

Justice Dattu said: “Press has its freedom and it will be more responsible in such situation”, as counsel described the media reports on who met CBI director at his residence as an “huge invasion” of his fundamental right to privacy.

The matter will be heard again next Monday.

Meanwhile, NGO Common Cause Thursday moved an application seeking direction to the CBI director not to interfere in the coal block allocation case investigations and prosecutions being carried out by the agency and recuse himself from these cases.

The application also sought the setting up of a SIT to investigate the abuse of authority by the CBI director in order to “scuttle inquires, investigations and prosecutions being carried out by the CBI in coal block allocation cases and other important cases”.

“There are incontrovertible facts in the public domain which lead to the inescapable conclusion that it is necessary to remove Mr. Sinha from the case for ensuring fair and impartial investigations,” the NGo said.

Referring to the instance of CBI sharing its status report on coal scam probe with the then law minister Ashwani Kumar, the application said that Sinha did not “mend his ways” and “continued to interfere in the CBI investigations in the coal allocation cases by overruling the team of investigation officers and forcing them not to register FIRs and file closure reports in cases where FIRs had already been registered”.

Eventually, the application said that apex court had to step in and order the registration of as many as 14 fresh FIRs in coal allocation cases. The application said that such moves were criticised by the then Special Public Prosecutor U.U.Lalit (now elevated as apex court judge).

Even now, no effort is being spared in order to delay the registration of FIRs and filing of charge sheets, the application read.