Probe involving ex-CBI boss is almost complete: Centre

Ranjit Sinha

New Delhi, Dec 9 : The CBI on Monday informed the Supreme Court the investigation involving its former director Ranjit Sinha for allegedly adversely intervening to botch up the probe into coal block allocation scam is almost complete.

Special prosecutor R.S. Cheema, appearing for the CBI in the scam, contended before a bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices B.R. Gavai and Surya Kant that the final report is almost over, and that the agency will be ready with the report anytime soon.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for NGO Common Cause, submitted before the bench that the probe into the alleged role of Sinha is not receiving the attention based on the gravity of the charges alleged against the former Director.

Bhushan contended that two years have passed since former CBI special director M.L. Sharma submitted report former CBI chief “prime facie” acted for not pertinent reasons and there is no action on the report yet.

Cheema, in response to Bhushan and informing the bench on the latest update on the report, said: “The investigation into the matter is nearly over, and the report will also be ready soon. Please keep this matter in February, and we will inform the court on this report.”

Bhushan contended before the court that the apex court had ordered a probe in 2015, but the progress on it is known little. Bhushan, insisting on the final report on the matter, said: “The charges are very serious in nature, as the then CBI chief overruled all the investigating officers to protect highly influential accused in the case.”

The allocation of the coal blocks were scrapped on Bhushan’s petition. After a brief hearing, the bench scheduled the matter for further hearing in February.

Earlier, the top court had sought response from CBI and ED on the status of the coal scam. In November 2018, the court had asked the SIT to submit a report on charges against Sinha for abusing the official position.

The top court also expressed reservation on the plea of the investigating agency to repatriate five officers, probing the coal block allocation scam, to their parent cadres citing personal grounds.

The court told the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who sought court’s permission for the transfer of the officers: “Investigation is on-going, how can we allow them to repatriate?”

The apex court has been monitoring the probe in the coal block allocation scam. The court observed that deputation to probe coal scam is not a punishment and the officers can go to their parent cadre to resolve the issues, but they have to come back to complete the probe.

The court asked Mehta to get instructions on the matter and then deferred the hearing.

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