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Supreme Court agrees to hear plea on whistleblower identity

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New Delhi, Sep 22 :

The Supreme Court Monday agreed to hear NGO CPIL’s plea seeking recall of its order for disclosure of the identity of the whistleblower who gave information on the CBI director meeting accused in 2G and other cases at his official residence and allegedly interfering in the probe and prosecution of 2G cases.

A bench of Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice S.A. Bobde at the same time declined to entertain, for now, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director Ranjit Sinha’s plea urging the court to dismiss the NGO’s application seeking a probe against him after it had refused to disclose the identity of the source on which it was basing its averments and allegation against him (Sinha).Supreme Court

The court asked 2G case Special Public Prosecutor Anand Grover to examine all the material before the court including the entry register at the residence of the CBI director and assist it on the NGO’s application seeking a recall of the Sep 15 order asking to disclose the identity of the whistleblower. It posted the next hearing for Oct 10.

The entry register recording the entry of alleged accused in 2G and other cases that became the basis of allegations against Sinha are currently in the custody of the apex court in a sealed cover. Anand Grover would be given the photocopy now available with the CBI counsel K.K. Venugopal.

The court noted that its order has great ramification as it may be cited in other pending PILs before the court or which may come in future for seeking the disclosure of identity of the source.

Insisting that it would like to hear Grover on the issue, the court said: “Right or wrong this is our order and we can’t just recall the order” like that.

Seeking the dismissal of the CPIL’s plea urging the court to recall its order directing the NGO to disclose the identity of the whistle-blower, senior counsel Vikas Singh, appearing for Sinha, said that it amounted to criminal contempt as they were showing lack of confidence even in the judges of the apex court.

Singh took exception to CPIL averment that disclosure of the identity of the whistleblower could result in his liquidation, noting that even under the Whistle Blowers Protection Act, 2011, the identity has to be disclosed to the Central Vigilance Commissioner so as to determine the whistleblower’s locus and the prima facie veracity of the allegations.

But the court then sought to know how the provisions of this act are relevant to the instant case. “We are not conceding the request (for recall of the Sep 15 order) made in the application by the NGO CPIL. We really want the assistance of the Special Public Prosecutor,” it said.

It also rejected Singh’s request for the court to hold its hand in passing any order on the application seeking the recall of Sep 15 order.

The court appeared equally sceptical when it said, “We don’t believe so” as Singh told the court that there was no interference by the CBI chief in the cases probed by the investigating agency in 2G scam.

At the outset of the hearing of the matter, senior counsel Dushyant Dave, appearing for the CPIL, apologised to the court for not disclosing the identity of the whistleblower as directed by the court.

He also referred to the verdict by the apex court’s constitution bench which had said that rules and technicalities could not come in the way of the issuing being raised by the NGO.

“We represent the people who are behind us – the nation,” Dave told the court justifying the locus in raising the issue.

(IANS)