Ex-CBI chief Ranjit Sinha questions legality of probe based on visitors' log

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Taking a cue from the Supreme Court refusing to give credence to diaries found with executives of Sahara and Birla allegedly noting pay-offs to politicians, former CBI chief Ranjit Sinha claimed a similar defence on Monday with regard to entries in the visitors' diary at his then official residence.

Sinha questioned the legality of the CBI probe against him ordered by the court on the basis of the visitors logbook that showed he frequently met various accused named in the coal block allocation scam at his residence. The court had on January 23 asked the CBI to investigate whether the coal scam probe was scuttled and some accused protected.

Sinha made an indirect reference to the apex court's order on a petition that had sought an investigation into allegations that PM Narendra Modi had received pay-offs as Gujarat CM. The court had ruled that loose sheets — that also named other prominent BJP and Congress politicians — cannot be held as evidence warranting an investigation.

Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for the former CBI chief, contended before a bench of Justices Madan BLokur, Kurian Joseph and A K Sikri that the probe against Sinha should be recalled as the court should not use different parameters for different people. "This order could not have been passed in view of the earlier order in another case. Only names were there in my case and there was no mention of any amount received which was there in another case," the advocate said.

On January 11, the SC had said "random materials" like loose sheets, papers, and email print outs are "inadmissible materials" and have "no evidentiary value under the law" to order the registration of FIRs and investigations. The court had said that the documents were aren't credible enough to direct a probe and termed the diaries as "fictitious" and "not authentic".

Drawing the court's attention to its order, Singh told the bench that it should also not rely on former CBI chief's visitor's diary, which was of no evidentiary value, and the probe order against Ranjit Sinha should be recalled.

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