The order issued Friday by officiating CBI Director M Nageswara Rao to reverse all decisions taken after Tuesday has negated the file signed by then Director Alok Verma in a coal scam case, allegedly involving a senior IAS officer.
The CBI order declared four office orders issued on Wednesday and Thursday, after Verma was reinstated by the Supreme Court as CBI Director, as non-est (does not exist). It said, “consequently, all actions in pursuance thereof by all concerned are also declared hereby as null and void”.
This nullified one of the files signed by Verma on Wednesday which could have led to the chargesheeting of Bhaskar Khulbe, a West Bengal cadre IAS officer, in a coal scam case. Currently Secretary to the Prime Minister, Khulbe is alleged to have been involved in the allotment of coal blocks to Ramsarup Lohh Udyog Limited in the Moira-Madhujore block of West Bengal.
Khulbe was then Advisor, Industries to the West Bengal government. His name had figured in CBI investigations in the coal scam and had parallels with the case of former Union Coal Secretary H C Gupta.
Gupta was made an accused by CBI for offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act and Indian Penal Code, including cheating, criminal conspiracy and criminal misconduct in a coal block allocation case. An accused in 12 cases, he has been convicted in three cases and sentenced to prison terms of two, three and three years.
The CBI filed chargesheets in connection with alleged irregularities in 40 cases of coal block allocations. In 2014, the Supreme Court had approved the appointment of a special judge to exclusively deal with all coal scam cases.
Responding to this report, the CBI has written: “The news item is factually not correct and is denied. The orders issued by the agency are only with respect to the transfers of officers alone, and nothing else… Matters relating to cases of allocation of coal blocks are Supreme Court monitored cases and the CBI submits periodic status reports to the Hon’ble Supreme Court. With reference to the specific case mentioned in the news item, the status report giving complete details and facts is being submitted to the Hon’ble Supreme Court.”
Our correspondent replies: It is reiterated that Alok Verma as CBI Director had approved a case for chargesheeting of IAS officer Bhaskar Khulbe in the coal scam. As reported on January 12, after being reinstated by the Supreme Court, Verma sent the file for further action on January 9. The language of the blanket order issued by CBI on Friday, which stated that “consequently, all actions in pursuance thereof by all concerned are also declared hereby as null and void” suggests that it would include actions taken on all cases including this one.