The Supreme Court Wednesday said it will consider asking the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) to examine all cases before the CBI submits its final reports in the trial court in connection with the coal blocks allocation cases.
Even as the CBI opposed the proposition saying this would be violative of laws, a bench led by Chief Justice of India R M Lodha observed there appeared no legal impediment why this could not be done in order “to ensure the probe is absolutely fair, objective and unbiased”.
CBI’s counsel Amarendra Sharan argued that the agency was not opposing a scrutiny by the CVC till the stage of registration of regular cases (RCs) but whether or not a chargesheet should be filed cannot be adjudicated by the CVC. He said examination of a final report — either a chargesheet or a closure report — was the sole prerogative of a trial court under the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).
Unimpressed, the bench replied that the constitutional powers of a superior court could not be scuttled by a procedural law like the CrPC and a court shall not be constrained by any such law.
“We are not supervising the investigation. So we are not going to look into the merits of your cases but the CVC can. Nothing should be done by the CBI to give slightest of impression that the probe was not proceeding properly. Why are we monitoring. It is because there should be a fair probe. You should also not do something which shatters public faith,” said the bench.
However, Sharan stuck to his guns, contending this was not permissible under the scheme of law and that such an order shall clothe the CVC with the judicial powers that it could not assume.
At this, the bench said it will pass formal orders on Thursday.
Meanwhile, it also asked Sharan to take instruction regarding O P Galhotra, CBI’s Joint Director, who was related to family of Congress MP Navin Jindal. The lawmaker has been named in the coal block allocation case.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for a petitioner NGO, had alleged that Galhotra was influencing the probe and hence he must be removed from the team, even as Sharan said the officer had voluntarily disassociated himself from any investigation related to Jindals.
Bhushan also made certain personal allegations against Sharan regarding interference with the final reports, which the court refused to entertain.