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No smoke without fire: ex-CBI chiefs on Supreme Court remarks

PTI 20 Nov 2014, 23:39:24 PM IST
PTI

New Delhi: The removal of CBI Director Ranjit Sinha by the Supreme Court from 2G scam case has prompted the agency's former chiefs to term it as a "bad dream" which they would like to forget.

Reacting to the apex court's removal of Sinha from the case and highly critical remarks about him, former CBI Chief R K Raghvan said this is the first time that such an order has been passed by the Supreme Court against an agency chief asking him to recuse from an ongoing investigation.

"It is a distressing and an unfortunate event. I want to forget it as a bad dream. But one must remember that this is an indictment of an officer and not an organisation," he said.

Raghavan, a 1963-batch officer who had headed the agency between 1999-2001, said he does not agree with the argument that in order to get complete picture of a case, it is imperative for an agency chief to meet the accused as well.

"It is OK to meet the accused or their representative once or twice in the presence of the investigative officer in the office but certainly not the number of times at his residence as alleged," he said.

Another former CBI Director Joginder Singh also termed the event as "unfortunate" saying Caesar's wife should be above suspicion.

"The conduct of the CBI Director should not only be clean but also appear to be clean," Singh said.

He said it is the first time that the apex court has come up with such scathing observations against a CBI Director.

"Every act has its consequences. There is no smoke without the fire. Whatever the Supreme Court has said is absolutely correct--that lots of allegations of credibility are against him. The Supreme Court does not pass orders lightly," he said.

Singh said on earlier occasions also like in Coalgate he informed the court about sharing status report with the ministry officials only when he was cornered.

"The dropping of Ashok Chavan's name from Adarsh Housing Society scam has also been questioned by the court. So, the actions are seen in totality," he said.

Singh said anybody who succeeds him must see all the orders that have been passed him specially those passed during the last few days of his tenure.

Former CBI Director Vijay Shankar agreed that it was the first time that such an observation has been passed by the Supreme Court against an agency Chief.

"One was expecting it as the events were unfolding during last few weeks," he said.

Asked whether Sinha should resign, the former IPS officer of UP cadre, said he does not think that CBI will take such a high stand when he has been indicted in such an unprecedented manner by the Supreme Court.

"I surely feel after this episode, government of India has an enormous responsibility to act promptly as per laws and rules made there under. Whether it was the Director, CBI, in individual capacity or some systemic failure of the legal arrangements under which CBI functions for example very selection of the CBI Director," he said.

When contacted, former CBI chief P C Sharma said it is "highly unfortunate".