Former CBI Chief Ranjit Sinha's Home Meetings 'Inappropriate', Says Supreme Court, Orders Investigation

File photo of former CBI chief Ranjit Sinha

New Delhi: Ranjit Sinha, the former chief of the CBI, held "inappropriate meetings" at his home with those being investigated by his agency, abused the powers of his office and must be investigated himself, the Supreme Court said today.

Mr Sinha retired in December. His last few weeks in office were seeped in controversy and ignominy, with the Supreme Court ordering his removal from his agency's investigation into the massive telecom scam. The judges accepted that he was guilty of trying to subvert the inquiry against telecom firms and executives who were charged with colluding with government officials to get out-of-turn mobile network licenses and free spectrum or airwaves.

The evidence furnished against Mr Sinha, 62, was pivoted largely on a diary that recorded who visited him at home-the entries showed house calls were made regularly by those being investigated in the telecom case, and the coal scam, which rests on blatant irregularities in the distribution of mining licenses by earlier governments to private firms.

The allegations against Mr Sinha were brought to the top court by lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan and Common Cause, an NGO based in Delhi. "The court has held that it was inappropriate for the CBI chief to meet the  accused in the absence of the investigating officers," Mr Bhushan said today.   

The Supreme Court has said that Mr Sinha's meetings with those accused in the telecom and coal scams should be examined by the Central Vigilance Commission, the agency that deals with governmental corruption.

Mr Sinha has consistently denied any wrongdoing. However, other officers who reported to him at the CBI have alleged that he tried to change the agency's stand to protect Reliance Telecom, which is among the companies accused in the telecom scam. Executives from Reliance Telecom, owned by Anil Ambani, are among those who met him at his house while the investigation was underway.
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