New Delhi, Nov 19 (IANS) CBI Director Ranjit Sinha Wednesday told the Supreme Court that he never overruled the opinion of any subordinate officer who investigated the allegation of quid pro quo against former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran in the Maxis-Aircel deal but instead referred the matter to the attorney general for his opinion.
“I expressed my views but did not overrule anybody (on filing of chargesheet against Maran in the Maxis-Aircel deal). I only said take the opinion of the attorney general,” counsel Vikas Singh, representing the Central Bureau of Investigation director, told the bench of Chief Justice H.L. Dattu, Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice A.K. Sikri.
Vikas Singh said this to clear the air that the filing of the chargesheet in the Maran case was delayed at Sinha’s instance, as he disagreed with the investigating officer and director of prosecution holding that the chargesheet against Maran could not be filed without completing investigation into the overseas (Malaysian) dimension of the Maxis-Aircel deal.
The court was told this as the CBI director opposed the plea by NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation, seeking recall of the court’s Sep 15 order asking the NGO to disclose the identity of the whistle-blower whose information was the basis of its “averment and allegations” that the CBI director met the accused over 2G and other cases at his residence and was allegedly interfering in the probe and prosecution.
Vikas Singh addressed the court on four allegations — transfer of supervisory officer Rastogi, coming in the way of filing of chargesheet against Maran, filing an affidavit to inform the trial court about the law ministry’s opinion on Reliance Telecom and the entries in the visitors’ diary at Sinha’s residence.
He took the court through the CBI files relating to the Maxis-Aircel deal, and said Sinha differed with the investigating officer and held that without completing the Malaysian leg of investigation, the chargesheet should not be filed and referred the matter to the attorney general for his opinion.
This invited a retort from counsel Dushyant Dave, who said: “You (Sinha) as the head of the premier investigating agency knew that no foreign country is going to cooperate (in the investigation) and still you insisted on the completion of the overseas investigation.”
Dave further asked that if the investigating officer and the director of prosecution agreed on filing the case against Maran, then why did it take one year to file the chargesheet.
On the law ministry’s opinion in the Reliance Telecom case, Vikas Singh said any opinion that was favourable to the accused should not be held back.
“If there is a legal opinion given by the law ministry, I am right in bringing it on record and not otherwise. This would not vitiate the trial. You are only going for the purpose of conviction and not fair trial. The objection of the special public prosecutor was not to bring the law ministry opinion on record. He has the final say,” he said.
Opposing the plea for disclosing the identity of the whistle-blower, Special Public Prosecutor Anand Grover told the court that if it was satisfied about the credibility of the information, then it should not insist on the disclosure of the man’s identity.
The court asked Grover to address it on two questions – if the credibility of information was not doubtful, then the disclosure of the identity of the informant should not be insisted upon, and if the credibility of information was doubtful, should the disclosure of the identity of informant be insisted upon.
The hearing will continue Thursday.