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'No effect of Sinha's meetings with coal scam accused on cases'

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  17 March 2015 12:00 AM GMT

New Delhi, March 16: The Central Bureau of Investigation on Monday told the Supreme Court that the decisions on the fate of its investigations into coal scam cases were not influenced by the meetings that its then director Ranjit Sinha had with some of the accused. Rejecting the contention that Sinha had overruled his subordite officer on the fate of the investigations, CBI counsel Amarendra Saran told a bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice A.K.Sikri that in the majority of the cases, decisions were taken “virtually unimously”.“In majority of the cases the decision was virtually unimous. In any organisation there are bound to be differences. They (people working in CBI) are not rubber stamps. The strength of the CBI is that the cases are monitored at the highest level. If you file a charge sheet, it has worst repercussions for the citizen. We have to examine and evaluate what are the chances of success,” he said.

His contention came as the agency sought dismissal with “heavy costs” of the application by the NGO Common Cause seeking a SIT probe into Sinha’s meetings with the coal scam accused. Sinha meanwhile told the court that there was nothing wrong in his meeting the accused as it was a part of the job of the supervisory officer. While not admitting to the late night meetings with the accused, senior counsel Vikas Singh, appearing for Sinha, told the court: “It is a part of the job of the supervisory officer to meet and know the part of the story of the accused.”

Describing the allegations that Sinha’s meeting with the accused, some multiple times, resulted in favours to them as “absurd”, Vikas Singh said: “No one will meet accused 140 times. I agree meeting them but not in a manner as alleged by Prashant Bhushan. If you have to favour something then you don’t meet people 90 times. These things can be done on phones. These allegations are absurd.” Contending that the courts were not a “place to settle persol scores” and Sinha was being “hounded” after he demitted the office”, Saran took the court through the noting of the CBI files relating to coal scam cases to demonstrate that Sinha had done nothing which can be traced to his meetings with the alleged accused in the coal scam.

Giving the specific instance of the coal mines allocated to the company associated with Vijay Darda - owner of a newspaper group and a former MP - Saran told the court that the official who investigated the case recommended filing of charge sheet in three cases with further investigation into the role of public servants. He told the court that right from the joint director to the additiol director to the then CBI director Sinha, there was one opinion that a charge sheet should be filed in one case and not the other two with further investigation into the role of public servants, if any.

He urged the court that Common Cause be slapped with “very heavy costs” as its allegations are “going to hurt the organisation, lower its image and effect its credibility.” Reeling out figures, Saran told the court that in as many as 29 cases there was difference of opinion between the superintendent of police and the deputy inspector general of police, in 27 cases, between a DIG and the joint director, four between joint director and additiol director and in one case between the additiol director and director. The court was told that in the CBI, at every level in the vetting of the file by the next higher officer, the opinion of the officer is backed by recorded reasons either way. (IANS)

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