The Patna High court yesterday served a notice on the director, CBI, Joginder Singh, asking him to show cause as to why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against him.
A division bench consisting of Justices S N Jha and S J Mukhopadhyay, monitoring the multi-crore fodder scam, issued the show cause notice since Singh failed to complete the investigation, particularly the conspiracy angle, within the promised three months time.
Notices were also issued to secretaries of the Bihar legislature for not cooperating and handing over documents to the investigating agency. The bench wanted to know on what legal ground the secretaries of the Bihar Vidhan Parishad and Vidhan Sabha were seeking privilege and were not parting with the files relating to the animal husbandry department scandal. The bench ordered that the reply to the show cause should be filed by April 10 and the court would hear the case the next day.
The bench was critical of the directors role in delaying the investigation and sought to know from the CBI counsel as to why the chargesheet in the case No RC 33 A/96 pertaining to two politicians (R K Rana, JD and Dhruv Bhagat, BJP) was referred to the attorney general when the director had already approved chargesheeting the politicians on March 11. However, the same order was withheld on March 14, 1997 and referred to the attorney general for consultation.
The judges said the director had promised the probe into the conspiracy angle would be completed within three months. We feel that the director, CBI, instead of making bonafide effort to adhere to the three months time frame, made a profound endeavour to delay the submission of chargesheet and in turn delayed the progress of the entire investigation.
The Judges observed: It can be said with certainty that the action of the director, CBI lacks bonafide and added that on March 5, 1997 we made certain queries to the director and the queries were despatched in a sealed packet.
But till date there is no reply from his side. This simply proves that the director has ignored the order of this court and prima facie it amounts to contempt of court.
The bench maintained that the DCBI was trying to take the court for a ride and its an insult to the court, and if the CBI counsel cannot provide a proper reply then let the director himself depose before the court. The judges commented: Whosoever is advising the director is making him a laughing stock.
The joint director (EAST) CBI, U N Biswas, who was also present in the court, assured that the all important case in the conspiracy angle RC 20/96, would be sent to the director by April 7 and RC 64A/96 by April 28, 1997. Bihar chief minister, Laloo Prasad Yadav, was interrogated by the CBI sleuths for more than six hours in case RC20/96.
The court made it clear that there was no ambiguity in the Supreme Courts ruling regarding the differences of opinion between the CBI officials and held that only those cases involving the joint director and the director should be referred to the Attorney General (AG) for his opinion. The bench observed that in case all the cases of differences were forwarded to the AG, it would hamper the investigation.
The court also observed that let it be recorded clearly that Ranjit Sinha, DIG CBI, Patna and N C Dhondiyal, S P. CBI Ranchi, are no longer associated with the investigation of the AHD scam.