Are missing coal files bid to destroy records, Supreme Court asks Centre

CoalThe Centre on Thursday faced ire of the Supreme Court on missing files on Coalgate.

Pulling up the Centre on the missing coal block files, the Supreme Court Thursday asked if it was "an attempt to destroy records" to impede the CBI investigation.

"Despite our repeated orders, certain files are not forthcoming by the coal ministry. Certain files, which have vital bearings on investigations are either not traceable or not available and some others are not readily available. Is it an attempt to destroy records? Truth has to come out eventually and it cannot go on like this. How can inquiry and investigation proceed like this? Missing records may be the most important ones," said a bench led by Justice R M Lodha.

Related: SC pulls up CBI over slow probe in coalgate case

Going through the list of documents required by the CBI, the court said, "You just cannot sit over the documents. All documents considered necessary by the CBI have to be made available. There cannot be any justification for not providing them. And if you cannot, cases have to be registered with the CBI."

Related: Govt mining for coal files, applications

Terming it as "lack of support" for the CBI, the bench, also comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, said the ministry must register criminal cases if the records had been destroyed or stolen or tampered with.

As the bench expressed its inclination to pass an order on a CBI inquiry into the missing files, Attorney General G E Vahanvati agreed to record his undertaking that the ministry would provide all the required documents to the CBI within two weeks of getting a consolidated list and would also register cases with the agency if it failed to trace some files.

Related: Govt mining for coal files, applications

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