July 8, 2014 7:55:12 pm
The Supreme Court on Tuesday sent a stern message to the CBI that none of the senior IPS officers in the team supervising the investigation in the coal block allocation scam will be allowed repatriation to their parent cadre without completing the task.
A bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha also said the concerned officers on completing the task can go to their parent cadre only after getting the nod of the apex court which is monitoring the investigation into the scam.
The bench passed the order after noting that one of the three DIGs, V Murgesan, who is supervising the probe in the scam, sought repatriation to his parent cadre Uttarakhand on the ground that he has completed his tenure of deputation with the agency.
“You (Murgesan) have not completed the required task. You have applied for repatriation. You have written about your repatriation. How can it be. First this task has to be completed. All three of you had assured that the investigation will be complete by 2013. “Now try to complete it. Surely you will not be repatriated until you complete the task. When your tenure was ending you should have come to this court and not have applied directly to the department,” the bench, also comprising justices M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, observed while making it clear that the investigation has to be completed within three months.
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The other DIG level officers in the 33-member team are Ravi Kant Mishra and Amit Kumar. The apex court had earlier barred CBI from relieving Mishra from the agency.
During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, appearing for the Income Tax Department, submitted that tax officers should be allowed to inspect documents seized by the CBI from the premises of Hindalco inorder to initiate proceedings against Aditya Birla Group under the Income Tax Act.
Singh said that there was a report that CBI while raiding the premises of Hindalco across the country recovered unaccounted cash of around Rs 25 crore.
While Singh was making the submission, advocate M L Sharma, who had filed the first PIL on the coalgate, said that the CBI had also seized a diary containing some names and it should also be made available to the apex court before the documents are destroyed.
However, Sharma’s claim was disputed by the CBI counsel and senior advocate Amarendra Sharan, who said “there is no diary and there is only a file”.
Taking note of the submissions, the bench said, “let us have thorough examination of all materials by competent mind”.
The bench was also told by the CBI that out of 168 cases of preliminary enquiry, finality has been reached in 166.
After perusing the report of two Vigilance Commissioners who went through the preliminary enquiry conducted by the CBI, the bench said the agency can go ahead with recommendations.
The agency, which was asked not to file closure reports on its own in the trial court in the cases lodged by it in the scam, once against sought that it should be allowed to go directly to the magistrate instead of taking the route of Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) for vetting.
The bench agreed to the likely suggestion that the task should be left to the special public prosecutor (SPP) and asked the stakeholders in the matter that they should reach to an agreement on appointment of a suitable SPP for the purpose.
It posted the matter for further hearing on July 18.
The CBI has initiated around 16 regular cases on coal block allocations, including those against the then MP Naveen Jindal and former minister of state for coal Dasari Narayan Rao in relation to coal block allocation and against K M Birla and former coal secretary P C Parakh for alleged illegality in grant of blocks to Hindalco Industries Ltd.
CBI was accused by an NGO, Common Cause which claimed that the probe in the scam was not moving fairly and there were instances that without seeking opinion of the CVC, the agency was filing closure reports in regular cases.
The bench had also taken note that there are cases in which senior officials of the CBI have overruled the investigating officers after the preliminary enquiry on the issue of filing the regular cases and charge sheets.
It had directed the CBI to place files relating to all preliminary enquires before the CVC for getting the report of the two vigilance commissioners.
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