New Delhi, July 12: In a major blow to former chief of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Ranjit Sinha, the Supreme Court appointed panel claims that he attempted to influence the investigation of coal scam during his stint as the head of the probing agency. Based up0n prima facie evidence, it appears that Sinha met a number of accused in the coal scam probe without keeping the investigating officers in the loop, the panel noted. Also Read - Delhi: Engineer Among Two Held For Sale, Purchase, Circulation of Child Porn on Social Media

The panel headed by former CBI director M L Sharma claims that the diary containing entries of those who visited Sinha during the coal scam probe was found to be “genuine”. The diary was handed over to the apex court by lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan. (ALSO READ: Prashant Bhushan writes to Narendra Modi against CBI chief Ranjit Sinha) Also Read - Bank Fraud: Hyderabad-based Co cheats SBI, Other Banks for ₹ 4,736 Crore

The indictment of Sinha would now pave way for formal prosecution to be initiated against him. Also Read - CBI Conducts Raids At Premises Of TMC Leader Vinay Mishra In Cattle Smuggling Case

The coal block allocation was undertaken in 2012. The UPA government was accused of allotting the blocks in an arbitrary manner, which led to a total loss of Rs 1.86 lakh crores.

The allocations of 200 coal blocks were nullified by the Narendra Modi government upon coming to power, under the instructions of the judiciary. Fresh bidding process was undertaken in a transparent manner.

The register containing the entries of those who met Ranjit Sinha was handed over to Prashant Bhushan by a whistleblower, whose identity has not been revealed. Subsequently, NGO Common Cause filed a PIL in the apex court. The entry showed that during the course of the probe, Coal India official Mithilesh met Sinha 3-4 times a day for nearly 50 days, in the absence of probing officials.