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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Former CBI Director Ranjit Sinha passes away at 68

Under Sinha, CBI was famously called the “caged parrot” by the Supreme Court and by the time he exited the agency, he was facing charges of corruption. The Central Bureau of Investigation still has an FIR open against its former director.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: April 16, 2021 7:20:20 pm
Ranjit Sinha dead, Former CBI director dead, Ranjit Sinha covid-19, @G scam Ranjit sinha, India news, Indian expressEx-CBI chief Ranjit Sinha. (Express photo by Renuka Puri)

Former CBI director Ranjit Sinha passed away at the age of 68 early Friday due to Covid-related complications. Sinha, who had tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday, breathed his last at 4.30 am on Friday.

A 1974 batch IPS officer of the Bihar cadre, Sinha joined the service at a young age of 21 and served long tenures in his state and in central agencies.

Apart from handling law and order in multiple districts in Bihar, Sinha went on to head the Railway Protection Force (RPF) and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) before being appointed the chief of CBI in 2012.

For most of his career, Sinha has remained a controversial figure who has not only faced charges of toeing the government’s line but also of corruption.

Under Sinha, CBI was famously called the “caged parrot” by the Supreme Court and by the time he exited the agency, he was facing charges of corruption. The Central Bureau of Investigation still has an FIR open against its former director.

“The Central Bureau of Investigation is deeply saddened to learn the demise of Ranjit Sinha, former Director, CBI. CBI extends its deepest condolence and sympathy to the bereaved family and prays to the Almighty to give the family the strength and fortitude to bear their loss at this time of great sorrow,” CBI said in a statement on Friday.

The “caged parrot” remark had come from the court in response to Sinha’s nine-page affidavit to the Supreme Court giving details of his meetings with the then Law Minister Ashwani Kumar and other senior officers during which changes were made in the coal scam probe report submitted to the apex court.

Sinha reacted to the development with the statement: “Whatever the Supreme Court says is correct.”

Described by some as “brazen” and others as “courageous”, Sinha was said to be bold at decision-making and sharp in his reactions to the media.

His tenure as the CBI director was further marred when in 2014 a visitor’s diary maintained at his residence showed that those under CBI probe were frequently visiting the director. The Supreme Court directed him to recuse himself from the 2G scam probe following the development. The CBI even registered an FIR against him based on the report of court monitored probe.

It was not the first time that Sinha was courting such allegations. In 1996, the Patna High Court had questioned his role in shielding Lalu Prasad Yadav in the fodder scam case. Sinha was removed from the probe on the high court’s orders.

As RPF chief, Sinha recommended creating commando units and quick reaction teams in the wake of 26/11 attacks.
Sinha had also boldly objected to RPF providing protection to former Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee after she became the West Bengal CM. Sinha himself enjoyed ITBP protection at his residence after he became CBI chief.

The visitor’s register found at his residence is said to have been maintained by ITBP personnel on the directions of his wife.

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