AG to decide whether report on Ranjit Sinha be made public

New Delhi, April 6 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi if the report on the meetings between former CBI director Ranjit Sinha and some accused in coal block allocation scam be made public.

The court sought the view of the Attorney General as the report by CBI’s former special director M.L. Sharma was given to the court in a sealed cover. The report has details about the impact, if any, of the meetings that Sinha had with the accused on the investigations undertaken by the probe agency.

“The question is to what extent it (report) can be disclosed. Could it be the entire report, nothing or only the findings of the committee,” the apex court coal bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice A.K. Sikri said at the outset of the hearing as it perused the report submitted to it in a sealed cover.

Sharma in a 205-page report has also sought access to the preliminary enquiries (PE) undertaken by the investigating agency.

The apex court coal bench had appointed the CBI’s former special director Sharma to inquire whether the meetings that the former CBI director Ranjit Sinha had with several accused in coal block allocation scam in any way impacted the investigations or their final outcome.

As the court after perusing the report by Sharma said that he was seeking access to the preliminary enquiry, Attorney General Rohatgi opposed it saying “As far as PEs are concerned I don’t think it should be given.”

“The CBI has filed PEs, it was examined by the CVC (Central Vigilance Commission) and the same has been accepted by the apex court,” the AG told the bench saying that the report should not be shared with others.

“There is no reason why this report is not given (disclosed) so long it does not compromise the investigation or anything else,” said Counsel Prashant Bhushan appearing for the petitioner NGO Common Cause.

Saying that “first we have to decide if we have to give it at all or keep it to our self”, the court told AG Rohatgi, “We will give you the copy of the report and you look into it and decide.”

Saying that the report by Sharma runs into 205 pages, the court said: “After reading it, he (Rohatgi) will have a better view as to why he (Sharma) is asking for PEs.”

Having said this, court gave the copy of the report to Attorney General Rohatgi in the court itself.

Meanwhile, the court said it would hear with the main matter the plea by former minister of state for coal, Santosh Bagrodia, seeking that his plea for stay of summons in the coal block allocation scam be tagged with that of former prime minister Manmohan Singh.

Bagrodia is seeking parity in relief with former prime minister Singh in whose case the court had stayed the summons for the allocation of 15 per cent of Talabira II Coal Block to Hindalco.

The apex court on April 1, 2015, had stayed the summons issued on March 11, 2015, against Manmohan Singh and Kumaramanglam Birla by the special court holding trial of coal scam cases. The court had also stayed further proceedings in the matter.

The matter would be heard on May 4 next.

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