Embarrassed by its prosecutor’s alleged collusion with an accused in the 2G spectrum scam case, CBI Director Ranjit Sinha on Tuesday admitted lapses before a Joint Parliamentary Committee looking into the case, saying he was surprised by the revelation. Sinha said despite having a counter-intelligence mechanism, the agency had failed to detect it. The CBI Director was grilled by the members on the alleged collusion between its prosecutor A K Singh and Unitech managing director Sanjay Chandra. Sinha told the panel that recent developments have not affected the probe. However, he said that the agency’s reputation suffers by such incidents.
Sources in the JPC said Sinha was questioned by the members on the timing of the fresh developments. “Some members observed that timing is suspect and there could be a hidden corporate agenda behind this,” sources said.
“The CBI Director clarified that A K Singh is one of the prosecutors in the 2G case assisting chief prosecutor U U Lalit, appointed by the Supreme Court. He said, therefore, the investigation in the case has not been hampered by the alleged collusion,” JPC Chairman P C Chacko told reporters after the meeting.
The CBI chief told the panel that after the purported expose, Singh has been removed from the case and a new prosecutor has been appointed. However, the JPC will not call Singh and Chandra as witnesses as their alleged conversation was not part of the terms of reference of the JPC.
Sinha also told the panel that both Singh and Chandra have denied the conversation and any punitive action can be taken against them only after forensic test and further investigation into it.
BJP member Jaswant Singh is understood to have raised the issue of authenticity of the taped conversation. On being asked by the members how the CBI got the tapes, Sinha said the tape was given to a DIG in the agency by a source some 10 days back, adding that the interception was carried out by some private entity.
Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) immediately raised the issue of national security saying it was a sensitive matter and such tapping is illegal and it should be checked by the agency.
The CBI chief told the panel that they have finished the domestic investigation into the 2G spectrum scam. However, agency is still awaiting the response of its Letter Rogatory sent to Malaysia, Mauritius, Bermuda and the United Kingdom.
During the probe, the agency has arrived at a loss figure of `30,984 crore to the exchequer due to allocation of 122 licences, the panel said.
“The Supreme Court had directed the CBI to quantify the losses... On the issue of quantification of losses caused to the exchequer due to criminality of intent in the allocation of 122 UAS licences and also allocation of additional spectrum beyond eligibility, the CBI has calculated a loss of `30,984.55 crore,” Chacko said.
Sinha said `22,000 crore is the loss for licences and `8,000 crore is the loss due to allocation of additional spectrum beyond eligibility. The CBI used the method of indexation to arrive at the figures.