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CBI director case: Court seeks identity of whistleblower


New Delhi, Sep 15 :

The Supreme Court Monday asked NGO CPIL to disclose to it the identity of the whistleblower who gave information on alleged interference by CBI director Ranjit Sinha in the probe and prosecution in 2G spectrum cases and who also provided details of the accused who visited his official residence.

Asking the NGO to disclose the identity of the person, the bench of Chief Justice designate Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice S.A. Bobde said: “We want to know the authenticity of the person who has given the information.” 

Ranjit Sinha, Director, CBI
Ranjit Sinha, Director, CBI

The apex court bench also wanted to know the authenticity of the information provided.

The court said the “information is of serious consequences”, having the potential of damaging the “reputation of a person”.

The court said it wants to ascertain the veracity and authenticity of the information provided, for getting certain direction including an SIT investigation.

Holding that the affidavit was not in “consonance” with the Supreme Court rules, the court sought the disclosure of the source of information that formed the basis of averments made before it by the NGO.

The apex court rules dealing with the filing of affidavits with its registry says: “In the verification of petitions, pleadings, or other proceedings, statements based on personal knowledge shall be distinguished from the statements based on information and belief. In the case of statements based on information, the deponent shall disclose the source of this information.”

The court said the identity of the whistleblower will be provided in a sealed cover which will be opened only by the judges.

The court fixed Sep 22 as the next date of hearing.

As counsel Vikas Singh took the court through the rules that obligates the disclosure of the source of information, the court asked CPIL counsel Prashant Bhushan: “Do you want to file a better affidavit?”

Vikas Singh said information was being leaked from Mumbai and asserted that the CBI director has acted bonafide.

Questing the existence of any such entry register at the official residence of Sinha, Vikas Singh said 90 percent of the entries in the purported entry register were forged but added that some may be genuine.

Bhushan said the affidavit was in compliance with the apex court requirements and referred to earlier pronouncement, draft enactment and notification for protecting the identity of whistleblowers.

He said whistleblowers can give information not just to the CVC but also to media, court and lawyers that can help in exposing wrongdoings.

He said whether the information provided by him was genuine or otherwise could be ascertained by ordering an inquiry.

Initially, the court gave an early date seeking the disclosure of the source of information, but Bhushan sought a week’s time so that he could consult the other members of the NGO CPIL including the whistleblower.

The court wanted the assistance of counsel K.K. Venugopal on the issue but he excused himself, saying that the CBI director had earlier approached him over the matter but since he was already representing the CBI in the 2G spectrum issue, he did not want to put himself in the position of conflict.

However, counsel Ram Jethmalani, who too was present in the hearing, told the court that the affidavit filed by Bhushan could not be rejected on the face of it but said that it had a limited value.

CPIL has alleged that Sinha met some accused in the 2G spectrum case multiple times and sought the court’s direction that he should keep himself away from the investigation into the scam and their trials by a special court that is hearing the cases on a day-to-day basis.