Coal scam: Ex-CBI director Ranjit Sinha to be probed as per SC orders

The Supreme Court on Monday ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation to probe the allegation of misuse of power by former CBI director Ranjit Sinha in the coal block allocation scam.

A report of a Supreme Court-appointed panel had held that prima facie there was an attempt to influence investigation in the coal scam cases by Sinha.

 Coal scam: Ex-CBI director Ranjit Sinha to be probed as per SC orders

File image of former CBI chief Ranjit Sinha. AFP

A bench headed by Justice MB Lokur said the CBI Director can take assistance of two officers of his choice after duly intimating the apex court.

"Since there has been a change in guard in CBI, we will continue to repose our faith in CBI," the bench said, while making it clear that it has not expressed its opinion on the writ petition pending before it or the ML Sharma panel report.

The bench said Special Public Prosecutor for coal scam cases, senior advocate RS Cheema, would assist the CBI director and his team on legal issues relating to the matter.

It asked the CBI Director to inform the court on the next date of hearing about the composition of his team and the time needed to complete the probe.

The apex court had on 12 July last year reserved the order on the issue after Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi told the bench that the panel headed by former CBI special director ML Sharma had held that Sinha's meetings with some high-profile accused in the scam, prima facie indicated that there was an attempt to influence the investigation.

Rohtagi, who had only received an initial report of the panel for perusal on condition of confidentiality, had said he had gone through the report which has found that the visitors' diary at Sinha's residence was genuine.

However, he had said the correctness of entries in that diary can only be ascertained in the court through evidence.

The apex court-appointed panel was probing the alleged scuttling of probe into coal block allocation scam cases by Sinha, whose meetings with the accused persons were held as "completely inappropriate".

Earlier, the court had given the initial report of the Sharma committee to the Attorney General for his perusal, as the bench wanted his assistance after the panel had sought a direction for supply of documents relating to preliminary enquiry into some of the matters in which the probe was closed.

On 7 December, 2015, the court had ordered handing over the original visitors' diary of the official residence of the former CBI director to the Sharma-led panel.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Jan 23, 2017 15:47:05 IST