CBI Director Ranjit Sinha suffered a major blow on Thursday, just twelve days before his retirement, when the Supreme Court removed him from the 2G scam case, saying the allegations against him of protecting some accused appeared to be prima facie credible.
The SC, in an unprecedented order, handed over the case to the senior-most officer after Sinha in the 2G scam investigating team.
A bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu and comprising of comprising justices MB Lokur and AK Sikri, however, refused to pass an elaborate order on the issue saying that it would tarnish the image and reputation of the investigation agency.
The fate of the CBI chief, who is due to retire on December 2, in the case became abundantly clear when the apex court bench, before rising for the lunch break, asked Sinha's lawyer, senior advocate Vikas Singh, about various options.
The apex court said it did not want to pass an elaborate order, because it would be against the interest and image of the agency. Prima facie the allegations made in the application (by NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation) are credible and required to be accepted, the bench observed.
However, Sinha's counsel insisted that the allegations levelled against him of scuttling the 2G probe were untrue.
The CBI chief's role was criticised by the apex court-appointed Special Public Prosecutor Anand Grover and counsel appearing for CBI, KK Venugopal, also raised questions on Sinha naming a senior IPS officer as mole in the team.
The SC also recalled its earlier order by which it directed the NGO to disclose the name of whistleblower who had provided documents and visitors diary of Sinha's residence.