SC notices to CBI, govt on SIT probe plea

Broadening the scope of judicial scrutiny over allocation of coal blocks, the Supreme Court on Monday sought the Centre's stand on a fresh PIL, which has demanded a court-monitored investigation to unravel the complicity of senior ministers, politicians and other high functionaries in the alleged scam, besides cancellation of allocations from 1993 onwards.

A Bench of Justices R M Lodha and A R Dave issued notices to the Centre and the CBI after underlining that the court was open to the idea of testing not only the constitutionality of the decisions regarding allocation of coal blocks but also possibility of an independent probe into the issue.

The Bench, which had in September issued a notice to the Centre on a separate PIL by advocate M L Sharma on a similar issue, agreed to entertain the fresh petition, filed jointly by NGO 'Common Cause' and a few members of civil society since it "touched upon certain additional aspects relating to the subject allocations".

"The issue of an independent probe by a special investigation team is always open and we will examine it at the right stage. We will first have to know what is the government's stand and whether there was lack of objectivity or fairness in the decision-making process, how these decisions were made etc. We will go through the reply and examine everything," observed the Bench.

While giving eight weeks time to the Centre and the CBI for filing their replies, the Bench further observed that it would not permit the issue getting "politicised" and that nobody should make such an attempt.

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