Centre faces SC ire in coalgate, told to give documents to CBI
Holding that the missing documents are "vital" for the probe in the scam, the apex court directed the Coal Ministry to lodge complaint with the CBI if it fails to trace any documents, sought by the agency.
"You (Centre) cannot do like this. Your explanation that files are being searched is not reasonable. This will not help," a three-judge bench headed by Justice R M Lodha said.
The bench slammed the government for not lodging FIRs on missing files and raised a question as to whether "it is an attempt to destroy the records in the case."
"Four months have passed. Have you filed an FIR for missing files. Is it an attempt to destroy the records. Truth must come out," the bench, also comprising justices Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, said while noting that missing documents pertain to financial aspects of the allocations.
"This cannot be left as it is. Why a case has not been registered so far? Proper report has to be lodged to find out whether it has been stolen or destroyed. This cannot be allowed. Some investigation has to be done on the issue," the bench said.
"For any reason if files are not available or lost or stolen or destroyed, tell us when will you lodge a complaint with CBI," the bench asked Attorney General G E Vahanvati, who, appearing for the Coal Ministry, assured that the Ministry would do the needful if documents are not traced.
The bench then asked the CBI to give a list of documents, files, information, sought by it, within five days to the Coal Ministry which, in turn, would furnish them within two weeks thereafter.
If any documents remain untraceable, then FIRs have to be lodged by the Coal Ministry with the CBI within a week thereafter, it said.