Indian media: '2G scam' probe

Rajit Sinha is the director of CBI - India's top investigative agency Image copyright AFP
Image caption Rajit Sinha is the director of CBI - India's top investigative agency

Papers back the Supreme Court's decision to remove Ranjit Sinha, the chief of India's top investigative agency, from a probe into a multi-billion dollar corruption scandal.

Reports say the court found some evidence that Mr Sinha's involvement was affecting the Central Bureau of Investigation's (CBI) probe into the telecom licensing scam.

The case - popularly known as the 2G scam - relates to alleged irregularities in the selling of telecom spectrum licences.

Government auditors say the scandal cost the country about $40bn (£24.5bn).

"We direct the CBI director not to interfere in the 2G-scam investigation or prosecution. He will recuse himself from the case. The investigation team constituted in the CBI to probe this case will take over the handling of the case in place of Ranjit Sinha," The Times of India quotes the court as saying.

Mr Sinha, who is accused of meeting the representatives of some of the suspects at his home, denies any wrongdoing.

Papers say Mr Sinha's absence from the probe will help improve the credibility of the CBI.

"This latest step by the Supreme Court will serve as a wake-up call to India's premier investigating agency and lead to a regime that encourages officers to carry out their duties without fear or favour. And hopefully, it will lead to a quick closure of this case," says the Hindustan Times.

The Times of India expects the new government to take steps in making the CBI more transparent.

"The real issue is what the government - which got voted in because it promised good governance - is going to do to shore up the credibility of India's premier investigative agency and ensure its integrity and independence from political control in future," it says.

Fishermen released

Meanwhile, papers see Sri Lanka's decision to free Indian fishermen as a step forward in improving bilateral ties.

Five fishermen returned to Delhi on Thursday after Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa used his executive powers to pardon their death penalty.

They were found guilty of drug smuggling, reports said.

Ties between India and Sri Lanka have seen several lows and highs in the past few years. India's Tamil parties accuse the Sri Lankan government of committing war crimes during its 2009 operation against the Tamil Tigers.

Sri Lanka's army defeated the ethnic Tamil rebels after a brutal 26-year war that left at least 100,000 people dead.

Papers feel Mr Rajapaksa's recent "large-hearted step" will help him win the trust of India's Tamil population.

"The invoking of the president's executive powers to issue the pardon could be seen as an attempt on the part of the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration to reach out to Tamils in India," says The Indian Express.

However, the paper warns that any "radical change in Tamil opinion is unlikely in the absence of some closure on the charges of war crimes levelled at Colombo".

The Hindu says the decision "speaks volumes about the importance that Colombo attaches to its relations with Delhi".

"It is not often that nations set aside their own laws and procedures, as well as domestic political considerations, to make exceptions for nationals of another country," it adds.

'Honour killing'

And finally, papers are criticising the parents of a woman who allegedly confessed to killing their daughter for marrying a man against her family's wishes.

Bhawna Yadav was allegedly strangled and later cremated without her family informing the police.

The woman's parents are yet to comment, but police say they have confessed.

The media see the crime as a case of "honour killing".

"The illusion that so-called honour killings are archaic holdouts only in India's rural hinterlands has been precipitously shattered by the grisly murder of 21-year-old Bhawna," says The Times of India in an editorial.

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