CBI probing own ex-directors violation of natural justice principle, says court

·2-min read

New Delhi, Nov 17 (PTI) The CBI investigating its own former directors in a corruption case is a 'violation of principles of natural justice', a Delhi court said on Tuesday while pulling up the agency for slow pace of probe. The CBI faced the wrath after its public prosecutor sought more time for the investigation.

Special Judge Sanjeev Aggarwal made the observation about the corruption case against controversial meat exporter Moin Akhtar Qureshi, in which the probe agency's former directors – Ranjit Sinha and A P Singh – are among those under the scanner.

“Four years have passed. In four years, no investigation has been done. How many more years will you take? Seven to ten more years? CBI director is the accused, and the agency is itself investigating the case? I am surprised. This is violation of principal of natural justice,” the judge said.

The agency informed the court that four of its recent orders have been challenged before the Delhi High Court. Following the submission, the trial court adjourned the matter for November 24 for further hearing.

The CBI had lodged the case of alleged bribery against Qureshi in 2017. During the investigation in the case the names of Sinha and Singh also came up and their alleged roles are being probed.

Qureshi was accused of collecting money from individuals directly or through Hyderabad-based businessman Sathish Sana Babu and using it to influence CBI probes.

The court, during the last few hearings in the case, has pulled up the CBI for lack of progress in the case and had posed a series of questions to the agency. It had also asked the investigating agency to file a status report on the probe.

Besides, it had summoned the Joint Director who is heading the probe against Qureshi, to appear on November 17 but he did not appear before the court.

The judge had also pulled up the agency for not questioning the two former CBI directors and asked as to why CBI was dragging its feet in a case involving their roles, which may lead to an inference that it is not very keen to pursue investigations with respect to them. The probe agency was further asked if the alleged role of another of its ex-director, Alok Verma, was being investigated. Verma allegedly stalled or did not allow the investigations to reach their logical end during his tenure. The CBI had submitted before the court that 544 documents had been collected and 63 witnesses were examined.

On being asked what action has been taken against the public servants for whom Qureshi was allegedly acting as a middleman, the agency had said that the investigation was being conducted and the role of such public servants is being probed.

The probe agency had further told the court that many CBI officers have been examined in connection with this case, including some public servants from the Income Tax Department and the Enforcement Directorate. PTI UK SA