SC raps CBI, seeks probe status

The Supreme Court on Thursday rapped the CBI for its reluctance to share the status of its probe in the coal block allocation scam. The court made it clear that it was not closed to the idea of monitoring the probe and hence it required to be satisfied that the investigation was on the right track.

"It is strange that you don't want to share the investigation report with us. It is not the first case nor the last case where the court wants to monitor the status of the probe. We require to be satisfied that investigation is being done properly and whether it is flawed or adequate," a Bench led by Justice R M Lodha told Additional Solicitor General H P Raval, who appeared for the CBI.

Earlier, advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the PIL petitioner, had sought direction to the CBI for adducing its probe reports for perusal by the court. The ASG said the CBI was already looking into the "entire gamut" of the alleged irregularities in the allocation since 1993 and would conclude the probe in four months. He, however, expressed his opposition to adducing the status report in the court.

The Bench pulled up Raval and directed him to file an affidavit indicating the progress of investigation. "The court wants to know the status of the investigation," it said. Raval then agreed to file a detailed affidavit and the Bench recorded his undertaking.

Meanwhile, the CBI said its investigations showed irregularities by authorities in allocation of coal blocks and around 300 companies were under the scanner. In its affidavit, the CBI said it was examining all coal block allocations since 1993, especially those made from 2006-2008.

"The concerned authorities did not follow the rules and procedures for awarding the mines development contract for the coal blocks... The system adopted by the concerned authorities in formation of joint ventures was not transparent and due diligence was not observed during the process. Some public servants had vested interests in the award of contract for the development of mines or joint ventures with private parties. It was also suspected that a large number of private companies had unduly benefited in the process," said the affidavit.

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