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A file photo of CBI chief Ranjit Sinha. Photo: HT
A file photo of CBI chief Ranjit Sinha. Photo: HT

SC to decide if CPIL allegations against CBI chief are credible

The court was hearing a petition to recall an order directing CPIL to disclose the name of the whistleblower who had obtained Ranjit Sinha's guest register

New Delhi: The Supreme Court said on Wednesday that it will decide whether allegations made by non-profit Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) against Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chief Ranjit Sinha are credible before deciding its next course of action.

The court was hearing an application seeking a recall of its 15 September order, which had directed CPIL to disclose the name of the whistleblower who had obtained Sinha’s guest register and given it to the organization.

A bench comprising chief justice H.L. Dattu and justices Madan B. Lokur and A.K. Sikri said that at this stage, it is not necessary to decide whether the name of the whistleblower should be disclosed or not. Only if the court finds any substance in the allegations against Sinha, would the issue arise.

The visitors register at Sinha’s residence, submitted to the court by CPIL in September, purportedly shows that Sinha had met executives from some of the companies under investigation in the cases related to irregularities in the allocation of 2G telecom spectrum and coal blocks.

Wednesday saw heated exchanges between the lawyers for CPIL and Sinha. CPIL’s lawyer Dushyant Dave accused Sinha of tampering with investigations into the 2G spectrum case; Sinha’s lawyer Vikas Singh vehemently denied the allegations.

The apex court’s direction to disclose the name of the whistleblower had followed Singh’s contention that Supreme Court Rules, 2013, mandated that any such information required the identification of the source from where it had been procured.

Special public prosecutor Anand Grover had told the court that disclosing the name of the whistleblower would have a “chilling effect" and “implications" on such “sensitive" cases. While noting that the conduct of Sinha was “improper", he had asked the court to recall its order directing CPIL to disclose the source.

The hearing of the case will continue on Thursday.

Shreeja Sen contributed to this story.

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