The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed an FIR under the Prevention of Corruption Act against its former director Ranjit Sinha to probe accusations that he tried to influence the probe into coal block allocation scam during his tenure as the agency's chief.
This is the second instance in the history of the premier investigation agency that it will probe its own former director over criminal allegations.
The CBI had filed an FIR against former director AP Singh in February over allegations that he was favouring meat exporter Moin Qureshi, an accused in a money laundering case.
The FIR against Ranjit Sinha has been filed under sections - 13 (2), which deals with "criminal misconduct" and section 13 (1) (d), pertaining to abusing official position while holding a public office and indulging in corruption, of the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act.
Action against Sinha came after the Supreme Court directed the agency to constitute a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the allegations of "abuse of authority" prima facie committed by Sinha to scuttle the probe in coal block allocation cases.
It had said that the present CBI Director would head the SIT which would look into the report of apex court-appointed panel headed by M L Sharma, a former Special Director of the agency, which had prima facie found that Sinha tried to favour some people allegedly responsible for irregularities while in office.
Sharma was tasked to look into the visitors diary at Sinha's official residence which allegedly showed that several accused in the coal block allocation scam case were regular visitors to his house.
On the basis of Sharma's report, the SC had directed the CBI to probe Sinha as it found there was prima facie material in the allegation of "inappropriate conduct" by the 64-year old former director of the agency.
The CBI has registered 54 FIRs in the coal scam against various persons.
The Supreme Court had held that it was completely inappropriate for Sinha to have met persons accused in the coal block allocation case without the investigating officer or the probe team being present, the FIR alleged.
The apex court also had held that it was necessary to look into the question whether such meetings had any impact on the investigations and final reports submitted by the CBI in this matter, it said.
"In view of the Supreme Court orders dated January 23, 2017, the CBI was instructed to conduct an investigation into the abuse of authority prima facie committed by Sinha," it alleged.
Sinha, the 1974 batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, served as the director of the CBI from 2012 to 2014. He allegedly met some of the accused in the coal scam that included senior politicians and businessmen.
The meetings are said to have taken place at Sinha’s official residence.