Former Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Ranjit Sinha passed away in New Delhi on Friday morning. He was confirmed positive for coronavirus on Thursday night. He breathed his last at 4.30 am on Friday, officials said. He was 68. “The Central Bureau of Investigation is deeply saddened to learn of the demise of Ranjit Sinha, former Director, CBI. CBI extends its deepest condolence & sympathy to the bereaved family and prays to the Almighty to give the family the strength & fortitude to bear their loss at this time of great sorrow,” the CBI said in its condolence statement. “Our heartfelt condolences are with the bereaved family in this hour of intense grief. May his soul rest in peace,” CBI Director in-charge Praveen Sinha said in a statement. Ranjit Sinha, a 1974 batch IPS officer from the Bihar cadre, headed the CBI for a controversial two-year term in 2012 as its 26th chief, during which the agency earned the sobriquet of “caged parrot”. The scathing remarks by Justice RM Lodha were a result of Sinha’s nine-page affidavit to the Supreme Court giving details of his meetings with the then Law Minister Ashwani Kumar and other senior officers, during which changes were made in the coal scam probe report submitted to the apex court. “Whatever the Supreme Court says is correct,” was his response to reporters after the controversy. Towards the end of his tenure, another controversy stuck him. A purported visitors’ diary with names of persons under the CBI scanner in the coal and 2G scam surfaced in 2014. It showed that these people were allegedly frequenting his residence. The Supreme Court directed the then CBI chief to recuse himself from the 2G scam probe on a public interest litigation, alleging that Sinha met the accused at his residence. The Supreme Court asked former CBI special director ML Sharma to carry out an inquiry into the allegations. Taking note of Sharma’s report, the CBI registered an FIR against Sinha which remains under probe. Known for making off the cuff remarks, Sinha during a drab conference on sports ethics attracted the media spotlight when he said: “If you cannot enforce the ban on betting, it is like saying ‘if you can’t prevent rape, you enjoy it’.” Made in the presence of senior sportspersons like Rahul Dravid, Sinha’s comment triggered sharp criticism from politicians who said it was akin to glorifying rape. He apologised the next day for any “any hurt” caused by his “inadvertent and unintended remarks”. In 1996, the Patna High Court questioned his role in shielding Lalu Prasad Yadav in the fodder scam. Sinha was removed from the probe on the High Court’s orders. Sinha was known for his grip on terrorism and insurgency related issues. As Director General, Sinha is credited with giving punch to the Railway Protection Force (RPF) post the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack when the iconic Chhatrapati Shivaji terminus came under attack. Sinha recommended creating commando units and quick reaction teams besides equipping railway stations with airport-like security systems with scanners, cameras, etc to prevent future terror attacks. During his tenure as RPF chief, he fell out of favour with the powers that be when he objected to RPF commando protection to Mamata Banerjee, who was the then Railway Minister. She had become West Bengal Chief Minister but continued to keep a posse of RPF commandos for her security which was questioned by Sinha as RPF did not have mandate of VVIP security. He was shunted out of RPF to remain without posting for four months. His expertise in handling terrorism came in handy during his assignment as the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) chief. He was sent to Afghanistan to give a report on strengthening security of Indian assets from the Taliban. He suggested several measures including increasing the presence of the force to guard Indian installations. “DG and all ranks of ITBP express their deepest condolences on the sad demise of Sh Ranjit Sinha, former DG ITBP today. He served the force from September 1, 2011 to December 19, 2012 as DG and earlier as ADG and will always be remembered for his professional acumen and exceptional leadership. May his soul rest in peace,” the ITBP said in a statement.