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Feb 11, 2013 at 11:50pm IST

I don't think it's such a big offence: CBI chief on AK Singh's suspected collusion with Sanjay Chandra

In an exclusive interview to IBN18 Network Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai, CBI Director Ranjit Sinha confirmed that the central investigating agency has registered a Preliminary Enquiry report, which names the lead 2G prosecutor AK Singh and Unitech MD Sanjay Chandra.–

Here is the transcript on the interview:

Rajdeep Sardesai: Ok let's then straightaway go across to CBI Director Ranjit Sinha, who is joining us now. Mr Sinha we have now been told that the CBI has registered a preliminary enquiry naming Sanjay Chandra of Unitech and the CBI prosecutor AK Singh - can that be conformed? Can you conform that a preliminary enquiry has been registered by you based on the audio conversation in access of CNN-IBN?

Ranjit Sinha: I can conform this information that we have registered a preliminary enquiry.

Rajdeep Sardesai: You are conforming that. We have also been told that the CBI prosecutor AK Singh has now been removed from the 2G case after the CBI came to know of this last week.

Ranjit Sinha: Obviously, his conduct was under cloud, so we have transferred him.

Rajdeep Sardesai: You have transferred CBI's prosecutor in the 2G scam. You are saying you have transferred him, but given the nature of what he appears to have done, being in open conversation with accused in the case - can such an official be allowed to remain in the CBI?

Ranjit Sinha: Unless the enquiry is completed, we can't take any action.

Rajdeep Sardesai: But you can conform to us that the CBI has in possession the recording which has three people including AK Singh, allegedly Sanjay Chandra discussing the case strategy, and this is now going to be the bases of your probe.

Ranjit Sinha: Rajdeep, we are looking into all the aspects, we can't conform anything in respect of genuineness of the case. It is a matter of investigation and only after we completed our investigation we will be able to conform anything.

Rajdeep Sardesai: But would it be fair to say the voices as of now based on what you have prima facie, is that of AK Singh and Sanjay Chandra which is why you have transferred AK Singh and summon Sanjay Chandra to the CBI headquarters.

Ranjit Sinha: I can conform prima facie it appears to be true, but unless things are proved in forensic laboratory we can't say anything about it.

Rajdeep Sardesai: Ok you will be taking this tape to the forensic laboratory. But you are conforming that there is the audio tape in your possession which you are now examining, and have calling key accused in the 2G scam to question them.

Ranjit Sinha: Yes that is true.

Rajdeep Sardesai: You are conforming that. Can you also conform to us that the CBI has written to the Chief Justice of India, to Supreme Court, to CVC, to the Department of personal and training, and the Law Ministry, informing them that you now have in possession a tape which perhaps could implicate your chief public prosecutor in the 2G case?

Ranjit Sinha: Everyone has been informed about this.

Rajdeep Sardesai: You have kept everyone informed, so the Supreme Court has also been informed, because the 2G case was the biggest case that the CBI has every handled. Will not a revelation of this sought question the entire 2G process and the CBI's handling of this entire trial and probe? Whether you are neutral or you are working under certain influences?

Ranjit Sinha: I don't think so. It is just a trivial aberration by some officer. And we have taken damage control measures for that.

Rajdeep Sardesai: You are calling it a trivial aberration by the public prosecutor, at the end of the day will you now reexamine this particular case. Particularly since it involves one of your accused and the public prosecutor passing information - will you go the Supreme Court and provide the Supreme Court with this critical information?

Ranjit Sinha: No I don't think it is such a big offence, we are looking into every aspect and we have registered that the prosecutor has not damaged this case in anyway.

Rajdeep Sardesai: But what will be the way forward? Will there be any fresh cases or arrest on the bases of this new revelation once your enquiry is complete?

Ranjit Sinha: I don't want to say anything at this stage because we are still looking into the preliminary enquiry report.

Rajdeep Sardesai: Will you inform the JPC of this information you have received because ultimately the JPC, which is meting tomorrow, is also looking at the 2G case?

Ranjit Sinha: We will be totally transparent with them, if they ask for any information we will definitely tell them.

Rajdeep Sardesai: But you conform that this reviles certain rot in the system, and if it turns out that the prosecutor is in touch with the accused, what does this show about the way in which the CBI prosecutes cases, if the chief prosecutor in the a case like this is in touch with the accused.

Ranjit Sinha: I think you are stretching matters too far.

Rajdeep Sardesai: Sir, but the prosecutor is in the tough, you have removed the prosecutor as a result of this, with the accused being possibly in touch with the prosecutor - does this not throw a question mark over the credibility of the process and the CBI?

Ranjit Sinha: Rajdeep the issue is that we are still looking into this we can't conform or deny at this stage. To come to a conclusion at this stage will be premature.

Rajdeep Sardesai: Ok, but I want to reiterate that you have now written to the Chief Justice of India, the CVC, the DOPT, and the Law Ministry, informing them of what has happened..

Ranjit Sinha: I have kept them informed, that is what I can say.

Rajdeep Sardesai: Sir, if this turns out to be true, is this not a serious breach of trust. You repose trust in a public prosecutor, if that prosecutor is then talking to the accused - is it not a serious breach of trust, don't that worry you as the head of India's investigating agency?

Ranjit Sinha: Rajdeep in no organisation there are only angels. You know, there are bad apples in every organisation. The issue is that we must take remedial measures as soon as this comes to our notice and this what we have done.

Rajdeep Sardesai: You have done remedial process by removing the prosecutor. Will you then be relooking at the role of all prosecutors of the CBI who handle high profile cases? Do you believe the time has come to look at this closely?

Ranjit Sinha: It is a continuous process Rajdeep. In our organisation we keep monitoring all activities of our personnel and that is the reason why we keep a close watch on all these.

Rajdeep Sardesai: In conclusion Mr Sinha how do you respond to those who say that what this preliminary enquiry against your own public prosecutor now shows is that in high profile cases there is pressure on the CBI and this pressure could be leading to situation where even the public prosecutor is in collusion with the other side particularly because the people involved are top corporates and top politicians. Is there pressure on you in high profile cases like the 2G case?

Ranjit Sinha: There is no pressure Rajdeep whatsoever. I think this is just an aberration and this should be taken not that light. I think we should not blow things out of proportion and we are going ahead with the trial process and there is nothing to worry about our integrity or our honesty of purpose.

Rajdeep Sardesai: You are calling it an aberration. Are you saying that there has been no pressure whatsoever? Does this not reveal collusion between CBI's prosecutor and the other side? Does that not worry you?

Ranjit Sinha: Of course it does. You know we have to deal with every situation but I can assure we are under no pressure at all and we have been given full independence to go ahead and proceed with the investigation and prosecution of cases.

Rajdeep Sardesai: So you are saying there is no political or corporate pressure on you in the 2G case?

Ranjit Sinha: No. No. No. I can repeat it in whatever term you can call it.