With the trial court judgment in the 2G case in, former CBI chiefs who handled the probe have taken opposing stands on judge O P Saini’s verdict.
Thus, while A P Singh who was CBI director when the chargesheets were filed says he is “disappointed and surprised’’ over the acquittals, his successor Ranjit Sinha feels his stand has been “vindicated” by the verdict since he had faced criticism for handling of the case.
Ranjit Sinha was CBI director from 2012 to 2014 and 2G case controversies had trailed him until the end of his term. Just days before his retirement, the Supreme Court had asked him to recuse himself from the case and then there was the matter of his residential entry register which showed that officials from some companies named in the 2G case (as well as the coal scam) were frequent visitors. Ranjit Sinha is presently facing a CBI inquiry in the case.
The former Director now says that, in essence, what the trial court judge has now stated in his judgments is precisely what he was trying to submit before the apex court. He told The Indian Express: “Even at that time I had felt that the investigations in the 2G case were going in the wrong direction. I had wanted to bring these facts to the notice of the Supreme Court but my report was never submitted. Of course, it was the CVC who stood by me.”
His predecessor, A P Singh, who was Director between 2010-2012, however, stoutly defended the allegations made by the CBI in three seperate chargesheets and says he is surprised why the judge found the case so complicated.
“Yes, I am standing by the allegations made by us in the chargesheets. There is no doubt that companies like Swan and Unitech had tweaked the system and manipulated the 2G allocation scheme. Everyone knows this and that is why I am sorry for what has happened today.”
He added that even during his tenure as Director, the Supreme Court had been closely watching the 2G probe but the agency had managed to stave off a formal court-monitored probe. “There was a lot of pressure on us from the Supreme Court but no oversight committee was appointed as was being then suggested. We fought all that. Some facts like the changes made in the cut-off date for 2G allocations and the fact that the first-come-first-serve rule too was disregarded cannot be disputed. I think the attack of the trial court has been on the prosecution’s handling of the case rather than the allegations per se,” he said.
As it turned out, in November 2014, Ranjit Sinha was asked by the Supreme Court to stop monitoring the 2G case after reports that he wanted to submit differing affidavits to the Supreme Court on 2G scam cases with divergent facts submitted by the then CBI Special Prosecutor U U Lalit who later joined the Supreme Court as a judge.
About that controversy, Sinha now says: “Internal communications had been leaked and there was a vilification campaign against me. My reputation was in tatters and with this trial court judgment, I feel vindicated today.”