SC-Appointed Panel Indicts Former CBI Chief Ranjit Sinha in Coal Scam Case

Former CBI chief Ranjit Sinha in a file photo. Credit: PTI

Former CBI chief Ranjit Sinha in a file photo. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi today told the Supreme Court that the apex court panel, appointed to inquire into the allegations of scuttling of the coal block allocation scam probe by then CBI director Ranjit Sinha, has indicated that, prima facie, there was an attempt to influence the investigation.

Rohatgi, who was provided with the copy of the interim report, said he had gone through the report of the panel headed by former CBI special director M.L. Sharma. He said he panel had found that the visitors’ diary at Sinha’s residence was genuine.

However, he said that the correctness of entries in the visitors’ diary could only be ascertained in the court of law through evidence.

Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for Sinha, refuted the allegation saying the entries in the register or the diary were dubious or fictitious as Sinha was not in Delhi on many of those days.

Taking note of the submissions, a bench headed by Justice M.B. Lokur reserved its order for passing directions.

The apex court-appointed panel is investigating alleged scuttling of probe into the coal block allocation scam by Sinha. His meetings with the accused in the coal scam case have been held as “completely inappropriate”.

Earlier, the court had received a report of the Sharma panel and given it to the attorney general for his perusal on condition of maintaining its confidentiality. The copy of the report was given to the attorney general as the bench wanted his assistance after the Sharma panel had sought the apex court’s direction for supply of documents relating to preliminary enquiry into some of the matters in which the probe was closed.

On December 7 last year, the court had ordered handing over of the original visitors’ diary of Sinha’s official residence to the Sharma-led panel.

The bench then appointed a panel headed by Sharma who later sought the visitors’ diary for proceeding with the probe.