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Past improprieties continue to haunt

Allegations of impropriety against Ranjit Sinha, the former director of the Centre Bureau of Investigation, continue to pile up. On Wednesday, the Centre refused permission to the CBI to file an appeal against the Uttar Pradesh Industrial Development Corporation (<g data-gr-id="20">UPSIDC</g>) engineer Arun Kumar Mishra, who was accused of fraud worth Rs 1000 crore.  News reports suggest that the CBI was to file an appeal against the order of the Uttarakhand High Court, which had quashed trial proceedings against Mishra. 

The investigative agency was to file an appeal in the Supreme Court within three months of the verdict. However, the then CBI director Ranjit Sinha had ruled against filing an appeal, against the wishes of the director of <g data-gr-id="38">prosecution</g>. By the time the agency had decided to seek the Centre’s nod to file an appeal against Mishra towards the end of last year, the stipulated period of three months had already passed. The Centre subsequently turned down the agency’s request citing delays in their request. Such incompetence on the CBI’s part is not unknown to the larger Indian public.

It was only last year that the Supreme Court questioned the agency’s credibility, during its assessment of the coal scam probe, calling it a ‘caged parrot speaking in its master’s voice’. To make matters worse for the agency’s reputation, former director Ranjit Sinha was found to have met people with known links to individuals and entities facing charges of corruption in various high profile scams like the 2G and the ‘Coalgate’ scandal. Sinha’s ‘open door’ policy towards many criminally accused and corporate lobbyists implicated in the 2G telecom and coal scams cannot be brushed away. The former CBI director’s visitors’ log book is virtually a catalogue of names with scam-scarred pasts and allegations too grave. 

The CBI director met Reliance ADAG officials more than 50 times in one year when investigations into 2G telecom scam were going on. The bottom line is that Ranjit Sinha had left the agency under the cloud of a credibility crisis. If the top court of this country was convinced that he should not handle one of the most sensitive cases  during his time as director, will we ever know whether evidence exists in similar other high profile cases? The recent expose, therefore, only adds to the murky list of shady dealings involving Sinha. The ghost of Sinha’s part continues to haunt the credibility of the CBI.
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