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Visitors’ logbook: CBI chief Ranjit Sinha submits his affidavit in SC

The apex court had earlier asked Sinha to reply to the plea moved for removing him from the 2G probe.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi |
Updated: September 15, 2014 7:35:22 pm
The SC sought Ranjit Sinha's explanation over the controversial visitors' logbook at his Delhi residence. The court had rejected argument by Sinha’s counsel that filing an affidavit would mean disclosing certain crucial facts relating to 2G spectrum probe.

In pursuant to a notice, CBI director Ranjit Sinha filed his affidavit in the Supreme Court on Friday, in respect of the accusations against him over the controversial visitors’ logbook at his Delhi residence.

The counsel for the director placed the affidavit in a sealed cover before a bench led by Justice H L Dattu.

The matter will be heard by the court on Monday next. It had earlier asked Sinha to reply to the plea moved for removing him from the 2G probe.

On September 8, stating that it may scrap decisions taken by the CBI director “at a later date,” the court on asked the agency chief to reply to the “very serious” averments against him regarding the visitors’ logbook, which showed frequent visits by some of the accused in the 2G and coal block cases among others.

The court had rejected argument by Sinha’s counsel that filing an affidavit would mean disclosing certain crucial facts relating to 2G spectrum probe and hence, he should be allowed to argue straightaway.

“The averments are very serious and the CBI director can’t say that even if the averments are serious, he won’t file any reply… if there is derailment of investigation, this court will have to take a strong view,” said the bench, asking Sinha’s counsel Vikas Singh to file the affidavit.

The court reminded CBI director that the SC was monitoring the CBI probe into the 2G cases, while turning down his contention that some of the materials could fall in the category of “privileged communication,” enjoying immunity under the Evidence Act.

Singh had also sought to assert that CBI chief was heading the premier investigating agency and that directing him to file an affidavit on merits of the matter, as to how he arrived at decisions regarding prosecution in some cases or dropping some cases, may affect the 2G trial as well.

“You don’t worry about the trial. We are monitoring it. This court wants a very very fair trial. Don’t forget, it was only at our instance you have taken over the investigation. On that day, we could have said that investigation would be done by so and so (some other) agency…this court may draw adverse inference too in case you decide not to file a reply,” said the bench, snubbing all the contentions by Sinha’s counsel.

It asked him to file two separate affidavits — one on the merits as to why he should not be removed from the 2G cases besides initiating an inquiry against him, and second, on the maintainability of the application by NGO CPIL, a petitioner in the 2G case, which has sought actions against him in view of damning disclosures by the visitors’ logbook.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, counsel for CPIL, pleaded for an order restraining Sinha from writing anything on the files relating to 2G cases while expressing apprehensions the CBI chief may be able to do something to favour the accused.

At this bench assured Bhushan: “On a day we come conclusion that there are writings on a later date, can we not strike it down? You don’t have to apprehend. We can do this.”

It added: “Yes, we are in a hurry to complete the 2G trial but we also want to ensure a fair trial. For this purpose, we may also ask the special judge to halt it for a week if such a need arises. Heavens won’t fall. It has gone for two-and-half years. It may wait for one more week.”
The court also rejected Singh’s plea to direct Bhushan disclose the whistleblower’s name who handed over the visitors’ register to him, saying it may ask the latter to do so at a later stage if required.

Meanwhile, Bhushan also handed over in the court the original entry register of Sinha’s residence, claiming two unidentified p-Your data has been truncated.

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