‘Diary found from Aditya Birla group offices has no link with coal scam’https://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/diary-found-from-aditya-birla-group-offices-has-no-link-with-coal-scam/

‘Diary found from Aditya Birla group offices has no link with coal scam’

The CBI counsel said the probe had established that there was no connection between the coal block allocation scam and recovery of the diary.

The CBI Monday told Supreme Court that a “diary” recovered from the offices of the Aditya Birla Group, allegedly containing a list of an estimated 1,000 payments purportedly made to politicians and MPs of several parties by a Birla company trust over a 10-year period, had no link with the coal scam case.

Arguing before a bench led by Justice Madan B Lokur, the CBI counsel said the probe had established that there was no connection between the coal block allocation scam and recovery of the diary, containing names and references to monetary transactions.

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“Moreover, the cash was recovered from a private place inside the firm’s corporate office. There is no evidentiary value of entries in the diary and the money recovered and it cannot be connected with the coal scam,” senior advocate Amarendra Sharan, representing the CBI, said.

Sharan said the case relating to the diary has to be delinked from the scam and be considered separately under the pertinent provisions of law. He added that the apex court, in its finding in the Jain Hawala case, had held that entries in a diary do not mean that a case must be probed under the corruption charges.

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At this, the bench sought to know what should be the proper way of proceeding when the CBI comes across different offences while investigating a particular case. “You feel there is no nexus, but the next question on getting evidence is whether any criminality is involved or is black money involved,” the bench told Sharan.

As Sharan reiterated that there was no link between the coal scam and the money and the diary, the court said the case may fall in the ambit of Income Tax Department and Enforcement Directorate.

The bench was hearing a plea by NGO Common Cause, which has demanded a court-monitored inquiry into the diary. Appearing for the NGO, advocate Prashant Bhushan opposed the CBI’s plea. “Why should this case not be treated along with the main case (coal allocation scam) if CBI has stumbled upon these evidence (seizure of cash and diary) in course of the investigation?” Bhushan asked.