The “delay” by CBI in completing the probe in the coal block allocation scam cases today drew the ire of the Supreme Court which observed it appeared that the investigation would “not come to an end”.
The apex court said that despite its “request” from time- to-time to expedite the probe, the CBI has not yet completed investigation in the coal scam cases.
The top court asked the probe agency to file a report giving status of its investigation in the pending cases and fixed the matter for hearing on October 9.
“We have been requesting the CBI from time-to-time to expedite the ongoing investigations, but it does not seem to come to an end,” a three-judge bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur observed.
“We will ask them (CBI) to give a status report as to why there is delay in completing the probe,” the bench, also comprising Justices Kurian Joseph and A K Sikri, said.
The issue of pending investigation in coal scam cases cropped up before the bench when special public prosecutor R S Cheema sought court’s permission to relieve a senior officer from CBI so that he can join the Jammu and Kashmir Police as a DIG-level official.
He said there was an urgency in relieving the official as his deputation tenure in CBI had expired on September 2 last year and the Jammu and Kashmir government has said there was a shortage of DIG-level officers in the state.
To this, the bench sought to know about the status of probe in the cases which were being supervised by the officer.
Responding to the query, Cheema said except in one case which was recently registered, the probe in other cases which were being supervised by the senior official was complete.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for NGO Common Cause, told the court that CBI has not expedited investigation in several coal cases despite direction from the apex court.
The bench, while relieving the official from CBI after Cheema said that another senior official would take over the charge of cases being supervised by him, asked the agency to file a report before it about the status of pending probe.
“We, therefore, require the CBI to file report of the status of investigation in all the pending cases,” it said.
Meanwhile, Bhushan requested the bench to take the plea filed by an NGO raising the issue of alleged diversion of coal from the block allotted to Reliance ADAG’s Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project in Madhya Pradesh.
The bench said it would hear the matter on October 9.
The apex court had on January 23 constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the allegations of “abuse of authority” prima facie committed by former CBI Director Ranjit Sinha to scuttle investigation and enquiries in coal block allocation cases.
It had observed that a prima facie case has “definitely” been made out for probe into the abuse of authority by Sinha.
It had later directed that no CBI officer, who is probing coal scam cases or officials from SIT probing allegations of “abuse of authority” against the former CBI director, would be transferred without its prior permission.