Delhi court slams CBI over coal scam case

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The CBI on Thursday faced the ire of a Special Court which took strong exception to the absence of its investigating officer (IO) during the hearing in a coal blocks scam case and asked the agency to ensure the presence OF officials in future when their matters are being heard.

The court in the national capital passed the directions during the proceedings in the coal scam case in which ex-Coal Secretary H C Gupta and five others are facing trial, after it was informed by the agency that the IO of the case was absent.

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“IOs shall continue to appear in the case unless there is a specific order from this court… Nobody should go on leave. They should be present without summons,” Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar was quoted by the PTI.

The judge made his observation while hearing the case pertaining to alleged irregularities in allocation of coal block in Madhya Pradesh. The court also asked the agency to ensure that the summons reach on time to the prosecution witnesses in the case.

During the proceedings, the accused submitted the list of witnesses who will be appearing in their defence. Besides Gupta, the other accused in the case are two senior public servants, K S Kropha and K C Samria, firm Kamal Sponge Steel and Power Ltd (KSSPL) which was allocated the Thesgora-B Rudrapuri coal block in Madhya Pradesh, its Managing director Pawan Kumar Ahluwalia and chartered account Amit Goyal.

The accused had on July 15 completed recording of their statements before the court. While framing charges against the accused, the court had earlier noted CBI’s submission that former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was kept in the dark by Gupta, who had prima facie violated the law and trust imposed on him on coal block allocations.

The CBI had alleged that Gupta had withheld complete and proper information from Prime Minister Office (PMO) on the matter. Kropha was the then Joint Secretary in Ministry of Coal, while Samria was the then Director (Coal Allocation-I) section in the ministry. The court had put these six accused on trial for alleged offences under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with 420 (cheating), 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant) of the IPC and under relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act observing that prima facie charges were made out against them.

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