FOUR CBI officers headed the 2G probe after the agency registered its FIR in the cases in October 2009, months after UPA-2 returned to power. The tenure of some of these officers was marred by controversy, and the Supreme Court had to intervene.
In 2014, the SC asked then CBI director Ranjit Sinha “not to interfere” in the investigation and trial in 2G cases. The SC remarks against Sinha came following removal of Santosh Rastogi, a Maharashtra-cadre IPS officer then heading the 2G probe. Rastogi, now joint CP in Navi Mumbai, was described by Sinha’s counsel as a “mole” who leaked information to the Centre for Public Interest Litigation, steered by lawyer Prashant Bhusan.
Investigations in CBI in the case were carried out by Delhi’s Anti Corruption Branch (ACB). Before Rastogi, Suresh Palsania, a 1996-batch IPS of Odisha cadre, handled the probe. In 2012, Palsania, then 44, died, reportedly due to a blood disorder.
Rastogi, who then took charge, had to be reinstated as lead investigator despite Sinha’s reservations but he was not given charge of ACB — he was only allowed to handle the 2G probe. In April 2016, Rastogi sought premature repatriation to his state on ground of “promotion”. Following this, Sanjeev Gautam, an IRS officer of 1995 batch, was made in charge of 2G probe. Gautam’s term also ran into trouble as his name figured in a suicide note by former director general of corporate affairs B K Bansal. Gautam was repatriated to his parent cadre in December last year. The ACB is presently headed by Gagandeep Gambhir, a Gujarat cadre IPS of 2004 batch, inducted into CBI as SP in 2016.
The investigating officer of the main spectrum case involving A Raja and others, CBI SP Vivek Priyadarshi, was sent to Bhopal in 2015 to probe the Vyapam scam, which finally gave a clean chit to Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Priyadarshi, a CBI cadre officer, was later nominated by the apex court to probe IPL spot-fixing. He is currently said to be on deputation with the UN mission in Sudan and cannot be reached.
Fellow investigating officer Rajeshwar Singh, director from ED, last month moved the apex court, seeking protection against anonymous complaints against him in 2G cases.