New Delhi, Dec 28: Controversy surrounding its chief Ranjit Sinha, the Supreme Court and the Saradha scam kept the CBI in headlines during the year as it tried hard to maintain its reputation amid reprimands from courts over closure reports and charge sheets in the coal scam.
Sinha, who retired this month, kept attracting media attention as the Supreme Court made scathing observations against his purported meetings with the suspects in the 2G scam and coal cases and even directed him to recuse from the crucial 2G scam probe- a first in the history of the agency.
The issue of the purported visitors' diary, which carried details of his alleged frequent meetings with the suspects in the scams at his residence, and the letter written to the then Attorney General allegedly seeking re-investigation of 2G case brought forth the ire of the Supreme Court on him.
Sinha, an IPS officer with over four decades of policing career, was asked by the apex court to recuse himself from the 2G scam probe with Additional Director R K Dutta given charge of the case till the CBI chief's retirement. The Supreme Court had also asked the CBI not to take any final decision on coal scam cases after the allegations against Sinha were leveled by two NGOs.
The apex court, however, did not take any adverse action against him in the final orders and closed the cases filed in this connection by NGOs Common Cause and Centre for Public Interest Litigation.
Sinha was replaced by Anil Sinha, a 1979-batch soft-spoken IPS officer from Bihar cadre, as CBI chief on December 2. The selection was made through collegium comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, leader of largest Opposition party Congress Mallikarjuna Kharge and Chief Justice of India H L Dattu.
This was the first-ever selection of the CBI chief through the new process given under the Lokpal Act which came into being this year.
In May, the Supreme Court ordered the CBI to take over probe in the over Rs 2,000 crore Saradha scam in which about 25 lakh gullible investors were duped of their hard earned money by the group.
Even though it was ordered by the apex court, the probe done by the Special Investigation Team of the CBI got into a political blame game with the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal accusing the BJP of turning the agency into its "political tool".