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CPIL refuses to name whistleblower in CBI chief's case

CPIL refuses to name whistleblower in CBI chiefs case

New Delhi: NGO CPIL Thursday declined to disclose the identity of the whistleblower of the alleged interference by CBI director Ranjit Sinha in 2G investigation and prosecution, and his meeting the accused in 2G and coal scam cases as it could expose the whistleblower to "grave risk".

The Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), in its affidavit filed in the Supreme Court Thursday, said that its governing body at its meeting Wednesday decided not to reveal the identity of the whistleblower who took off the lid on the alleged interference in 2G case matters by the CBI director.

Its affidavit came in response to the apex court's Sep 15 order in which the court, citing its rules, asked the NGO to disclose the identity of the whistleblower who gave it the information on the basis of which the averments and allegations have been made against the CBI director.

Referring to several earlier instances of whistleblowers, including Satyendra Dube, S. Manjunath, Amit Jethwa and Shehla Masood where disclosure of their identities proved fatal to them, the CPIL in its affidavit justified its decision to hold back the identity of the whistleblower in the instant case as it could expose him to "grave risk".

The meeting of the governing body of the CPIL that decided not to reveal the identity of the whistleblower was attended by its members and senior counsel Anil B. Divan, Colin Gonsalves, Kamal Kant Jaswal, Shanti Bhushan, Kamini Jaiswal and Prashant Bhushan.

The resolution passed by the governing body read: "The information was received in confidence and trust by the CPIL's counsel from the source who did not wish that the identity to be revealed. That confidence and trust reposed in CPIL's counsel ought not to be breached."

Citing the past precedents, the NGO in its affidavit pointed out late Chief Justice J.S. Verma never asked the source of 'Jain dairy' in hawala case involving several politicians and had ordered court monitored investigation, and even in Niira Radia tapes case, the court ordered an investigation without asking the source of leak.

Even in 2G case investigation, the court passed several important directions, including court monitored investigations, without asking the source of information available with the CPIL, it noted.

It said that the proceedings in a PIL, unlike private litigations or suits, are non-adversarial where the role of the court is to ascertain the truth and to devise remedies for doing justice and upholding the truth.

CPIL governing body's resolution said: "A strict application of forms of proceedings and rules regarding verification, as may be applicable to individual grievances, have been found to be quite inappropriate for consideration of issues of public interest."

"The court has, therefore, often entertained even letters as PILs, has often entertained news reports as evidence and taken up several cases suo motu based on news reports," the resolution noted.

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