The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has said that the CBI top brass closed at least six cases related to the allocation of coal blocks in which there was prima facie evidence to register FIRs.
Submitting its report in the Supreme Court, the CVC pointed out the cases where the CBI’s investigating officers found material to register FIRs, but senior officers sought closure.
“They (CVC) have not agreed with the CBI headquarters in some of the cases. They have highlighted these cases and also given reasons… In these matters, the CVC is agreeing with the investigating officers and not with the CBI’s senior officers. They have disagreed with the CBI head officer,” said a bench led by Chief Justice R M Lodha.
After perusing the CVC’s report, the bench said the CBI would have to take appopriate action in all such cases. The bench directed CBI Director Ranjit Sinha to go through the findings of the CVC report and issue necessary orders on registration of regular cases (RCs) and further investigations. The CBI’s counsel said the agency would do the needful. About two dozen cases were sent to the CVC for vetting after the court said it was necessary “to ensure the probe is absolutely fair, objective and unbiased”.
On March 28, the court had asked the CVC to examine all cases in which there was divergent opinion between the investigating officers and the CBI’s head office, and give suggestions on whether the cases were fit to be closed or RCs should be filed for further investigations.
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The order was passed after a petitioner, NGO Common Cause, accused the CBI of a flawed probe and claimed the agency was filing closure reports with extraneous considerations. Even as the CBI asserted that a scrutiny by the CVC was beyond the settled legal mechanism, the bench, also comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, restrained the agency from filing any closure reports in trial courts.
The CVC’s report affirmed the petitioner’s contention that the CBI may be closing a few cases in haste, despite adequate prima facie evidence to lodge RCs and conduct further investigations. The petitioner also claimed that the CBI was going after only the private companies and individuals, deliberately sparing government officials.
During the proceedings, the CBI informed the bench that it was ready to file chargesheets in three more cases. The court gave its nod to the agency for filing these chargesheets but once again restrained it from filing closure reports in two other cases. The bench said it would need to determine a concrete procedure wherein all cases where closure reports were to be filed must pass through an “objective and independent” scrutiny.
On the lines of the 2G cases, the court also agreed to consider setting up a special court and appointing a special prosecutor for the coal blocks cases. The bench gave the CBI three more months to complete the investigation.