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Coal scam: Ex-CBI officer empowered to summon in probe against Ranjit Sinha, says Supreme Court

Sharma, who was present in the court, informed through Attorney General (AG) that he required three retired officers, a sub-inspector from Economic Offence Wing (EOW), Mumbai and two stenos to start with his assignment entrusted by the court.

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dna Correspondent

Updated: Sep 15, 2015, 07:30 AM IST

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Former CBI special director ML Sharma on Monday told the Supreme Court that he will start the inquiry against ex-director Ranjit Sinha for his meeting with the accused persons in the coal block cases.

Sharma, who was present in the court, informed through Attorney General (AG) that he required three retired officers, a sub-inspector from Economic Offence Wing (EOW), Mumbai and two stenos to start with his assignment entrusted by the court.

A special bench of justices Madan B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and A K Sikri allowed his submission saying "we make it clear that Mr Sharma is entitled to summon any person in the inquiry."

The bench also allowed that he will have access to all documents required by him for his probe.

Directing CBI to provide office space, transportation, accommodation for the officers, who will assist him, and infrastructure within a week time, the bench asked Sharma to submit the report of inquiry in three months.

The court, which has been monitoring the probe in coal blocks allocation, had chosen Sharma to lead the enquiry team against Sinha.

On May 14, indicting Sinha, the bench had held that it was completely "inappropriate" for Sharma to have met coal case accused in the absence of any Investigating Officer (IO) and directed the CVC's assistance.

The NGO Common Cause, which is the petitioner in the coal block allocation scam, through its advocate Prashant Bhushan, has filed a plea for a thorough probe against Sinha and sought for SIT probe.

In an expose by dna, which had access to guests register of Sinha's then official residence 2 Janpath in Delhi, had reported series of stories of his meeting with several accused persons in the high profile cases including that of 2G spectrum scam, coal block allocation including a former union minister, an MP and also meeting with controversial meet exporter Moin Qureshi.

dna had highlighted that Qureshi is a friend of Sinha's predecessor AP Singh and he is equally friendly with Sinha. The guests' diary detail disclosed that Qureshi had visited Sinha's residence at least 90 times.

Sinha, retired from service on December 2 last year, had admitted of his meeting accused while claiming that "it was part of his jobs as a supervisory officer to meet the accused and meeting was not illegal."

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