Visitors logbooks: CBI chief Ranjit Sinha cries foul

The Central Bureau of Investigation Director Ranjit Sinha told the Supreme Court on Thursday that allegations that he had met and favoured influential persons associated with accused in the 2G spectrum and coal scam cases is “patently false” and an “attack on his reputation and a serious invasion of his privacy”.

The agency chief challenged Mr. Prashant Bhushan, who represents Centre for Public Interest Litigation, the NGO whose PIL led to the scrapping of 122 2G Spectrum licences, in the courtroom to reveal the source of the documents, including copies of the visitors’ logbooks maintained at his residence, allegedly showing that he met with company officials of the accused even as the CBI was prosecuting them.

“Please let him reveal how he secured the documents. Has he secured them in a manner known to law?” Vikas Singh, senior counsel for Mr. Sinha, asked a Bench of Justices H.L. Dattu and S.A. Bobde hearing the matter.

“The Supreme Court should throw out these patently false accusations like how it did in Amar Singh (phone-tapping) case for the reason that the source of documents were not revealed,” the senior counsel argued.

On September 2, Mr. Bhushan had claimed in court that “last night I came across very disturbing and explosive material. The entry register of Director’s residence”.

He had referred to news reports alleging that top executives of a company indicted in 2G scam met the CBI Director at his residence in the last 15 months.

The Bench had on that day stopped Mr. Bhushan from divulging any details and instructed him to hand over the documents to the court in a sealed cover for its perusal.

Today, Mr. Singh drew the court’s attention to how the documents were leaked to the media despite specific orders from the court to keep them in sealed cover.

“What is the point of the court ordering that the documents be kept in sealed covers when it is splashed in the media. He (Sinha) occupies a very sensitive position handling some of the most important cases in the country. His reputation is at stake now,” Vikas Singh, senior counsel for Mr. Sinha, submitted.

Seeking an urgent hearing, Mr. Singh said the CBI chief has exposed “twists and tales” of the media, including that he had opposed the entire CBI hierarchy in the Aircel-Maxis case.

Responding to Mr. Singh’s arguments, the Bench directed Mr. Bhushan to frame his allegations in an affidavit.

Justice Dattu said the court had no control over other things happening outside the court.

“The Press has its freedom. But we also hope the Press is aware of the sensitivity of this matter,” Justice Dattu observed.

The Bench assured Mr. Singh that if Mr. Bhushan does not reveal the source of his documents, “we will certainly ask him”.

Posting the matter on September 8, the court instructed the NGO’s lawyer to put the documents back in the sealed cover and not share them with anyone, including the government.

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