Aruna Roy and others write to CJI: “Is court being misled to focus on the source?”
GN Bureau | September 16, 2014
A group of civil society activists and commentators have written to the chief justice of India (CJI), pointing out that instead of focusing on who gave the alleged log-book of visitors at CBI director Ranjit Sinha’s residence, a special investigation team should be formed to probe the matter. Here is the text of their letter as assessed through an email from Shailesh Gandhi:
16 September 2014
The Chief Justice,
Supreme Court of India
Nearly two weeks back a visitor’s diary was shown by Prashant Bhushan to the supreme court, which showed that a number of persons under investigation by CBI had been meeting its director at home quite frequently. If the allegation was true the CBI director should have at the very least been suspended.
Mr Ranjit Sinha at first did not challenge the veracity of the record but asked how it could have come to Prashant Bhushan. He then claimed that it was an intrusion on his privacy. He also stressed that he may have met a few persons who were being investigated and that some were family friends. On 12 September he demanded that Prashant Bhushan reveal the source of the diary.
On 15th, the supreme court has issued the same order. This order appears to go against the spirit of the Whistleblower’s Act passed by Parliament. It is true that the rules for the Act have not been made so far. But the nation and the courts had backed the idea and spirit of the whistleblower’s act. It appears to many citizens that the court is being misled into focusing on whether Mr Bhushan got the record legitimately. If the allegations are true the CBI director is getting enough opportunity to change, destroy or create evidence. People believe that this is a regular practice of those in power. The head of CBI is certainly a person of great power.
We request the court to kindly consider the following options:
1. Get all the supposed visitors who were being investigated or are likely to have been representatives of such persons to state whether they had visited the CBI director’s residence.
2. Get Mr Ranjit Sinha to give a statement as to which persons named in the visitor’s diary never came to his house and whether any of his staff was present at these.
3. Get a Special Investigation team of persons with proven integrity to go through the records of the CBI to see if any link can be established between the supposed visits and the CBI’s investigations subsequently and to talk with some of the supposed visitors.
If this has to be meaningful, the first two should be ordered to be done within a week, and last within four weeks. Justice Verma has demonstrated that a report on a complex matter can be submitted in this time. The credibility of the nation’s institutions is at stake and we request that the supreme court to consider our request. We admit that our plea may be considered irregular, but we believe it is necessary in the interest of the nation.
Aruna Roy, Ajit Ranade, Jagdeep Chhokar, Nikhil Dey, Rajni Bakshi, Shailesh Gandhi, Trilochan Sastry, and others.
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