The Supreme Court today turned down the plea of CBI Director Ranjit Sinha to gag media from carrying news stories on documents pertaining to the entry of various people who are under its probe at his residence.
A bench headed by Justice H L Dattu, however, said that the issue arising out of visitors' log book at the Director's residence is very "sensitive" and hoped that media would act with some responsibility.
It turned town a vehement plea by Ranjit Sinha's counsel to restrain media from publishing details of entry list saying that it violates his right to privacy and reputation.
"We have no control over it (press)," the bench said.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, counsel for an NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation, has alleged that several accused and officials of accused companies in the 2G scam and other cases have been frequent visitors at Sinha's residence.
He had also alleged that Sinha was trying to protect some accused and sought his removal from the post.
The court said that in sub-judice matter people should wait till the case is decided by it and cleared that details of the documents, which were filed in a sealed envelope before it, have not been leaked from court.
"If sometimes someone oversteps it then we cannot stop it," the bench observed.
Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for Sinha, raised questions on the veracity and source of the documents and refuted all the allegations made against him, saying all such statements are "patently false".
At the beginning of the proceedings, the bench said that it cannot take cognisance of the controversial documents till they are put on record and asked Bhushan, who placed the details of the log book in a sealed envelope, to file an affidavit annexing the materials.
"We have gone through the documents. We cannot take cognisance of this until it is placed on record," the bench said.
It agreed to give an urgent hearing on the issue and decided to assemble at 10 AM, half an hour before the normal court time, on September 8.
The Director also raised questions on how the documents got leaked despite apex court's order that they should be placed before it in a sealed envelope.
Singh further pleaded that apex court should ask Bhushan about the source from which he acquired those documents.
The bench said that there is no need to pass any direction and if Bhushan does not reveal the source in his affidavit then it will ask when the case will be heard on Monday.
The CBI Director is at the centre of a controversy after an NGO had told the Supreme Court that entry register of his residence portrays a "very disturbing" and "explosive material" coming in the way of administration of justice in 2G spectrum allocation scam.
The Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) is one of the PIL petitioners on whose plea 122 licences for 2G spectrum were cancelled by the apex court.
It referred to news reports which claimed that top executives of a company indicted in 2G scam met CBI Director at his residence in the last 15 months.
We need to know how many times he met the Marans(among other crooks). If there is a fit candidate to be sent to Tihar right now, it is the CBI Director.
It is rather unfortunate that the guy cannot be kicked out without a lengthy process.