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Agency part of government, clarifies CBI chief

Last updated on: April 30, 2013 20:47 IST

Under fire from the Supreme Court over sharing the coal scam probe report with the political executive, Central Bureau of Investigation Director Ranjit Sinha on Tuesday maintained that the agency was not an "autonomous organisation" and that he had not shown it (report) to any outsider but to the law minister of the country.

"I am a part of the government. I am not an autonomous body. I have not shown it to any outside person. I have shown it to the law minister of the country. I will inform the Supreme Court about any situation arising out of that. The decision of the Supreme Court will be acceptable," he told reporters.

He was asked about the observations of the apex court that sharing of information with the government about the probe into the scam has "shaken the entire process" and the CBI need not take instructions from "political masters" on their probe.

Sinha, in an earlier interaction with reporters during the day admitted that changes were made in the draft report and he gave the full details to the Supreme Court.

Asked by reporters about the contents of the status report submitted to the apex court today, Sinha said the agency has given full details about the original draft and the "amended draft" of the status report including changes that have been brought about and on whose instructions.

To a question whether he takes moral responsibility for the embarrassing position arising out of episode, Sinha said, "I don't think there has been any embarrassment. I think that the honourable Supreme Court has made some observations. We will reply to all the queries that they had raised. I am sure that Supreme Court will take a very reasonable view about the state of affairs."

In an apparent damage control exercise, CBI spokesperson Dharini Mishra said, "It may be clarified that the director CBI in a statement to the press on Tuesday evening, in response to a query, wished to express the following: 'The CBI does not exist in isolation. We are part of a system and need to consult and take opinion on certain occasions'.

During his interaction with reporters, when asked under what guidelines he shared reports with the Law Minister, Sinha said, "No guidelines are required for this."

He said he does not think that he broke the trust reposed by the Supreme Court in the organisation and that he would submit all the details about the episode with it.

"I have given the factual report to the Supreme Court in a sealed cover which carries every detail. But the Supreme Court has directed to give it on an affidavit so I will submit it on an affidavit," he said.

The apex court has directed the CBI to submit by May 6 an affidavit stating complete details about the sharing of status report with Law Minister Ashwani Kumar and also give names of the officials with whom it was shared.

"We have been asked to file an affidavit by May 6. We will give all the details in the affidavit that is required to be filed before the Supreme Court," he said.

When asked about the harsh language used by the Supreme Court while criticising the agency, Sinha said, "I don't think honourable judges meant any such thing. We will explain entire circumstances to the honourable court. Whatever directions they will give, it will be for the benefit of the organisation. We will be greatly benefited by whatever directions apex court gives to us."

He said he did not think that he succumb to the political pressure in sharing the report with the law minister and would explain the factual position before the Supreme Court.

Earlier on Tuesday, the agency drew flak from the Supreme Court for sharing its status report with the law minister and senior officials of the Prime Minister’s Office and the coal ministry.

The apex court said that sharing of information with the government about the probe into the scam has "shaken the entire process" and the CBI need not take instructions from "political masters" on their probe.

Following the comments of the apex court, Sinha went into a huddle with his senior officers to decide the future course of action after which he said he would give all the details about the meeting to the apex court.

Image: Central Bureau of Investigation Director Ranjit Sinha

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