Coal scam: SC directs CBI to file five charge sheets by Mar 28

Coal scam: SC directs CBI to file five charge sheets by Mar 28

The Supreme Court on Monday declined the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) plea for more time to complete its probe in five coal block allocation scam cases and asked the probe agency to file the charge sheets by March 28.

A three-judge bench presided by R M Lodha questioned the agency for the delay in filing charge sheets despite recording a statement on February 10 that the charge sheets in six of the cases would be filed within three weeks.

Senior advocate Amarender Sharan sought another four weeks to file the charge sheets on the ground that certain aspects were required to be looked into.

“It (four weeks) is too much. This is no way. Why should it be delayed at all. You only said (on February 10) lawyers need to advise the agency,” the bench also comprising justices Madan B Lokur and Kurien Joseph said, directing the CBI to finish the probe by March 28.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for an NGO,  Common Cause, opposed the CBI plea, contending that it was intended to take it beyond the general election.

He said that during the last hearing, the CBI said the investigation was almost complete and it was ready to file the charge sheets but now it is indulging in delaying tactics.

Meanwhile, the CBI on Monday filed the first of the six charge sheets in a special court here at Patiala House Courts against Navabharat Power Pvt Ltd and accused two of its directors P Trivikrama Prasad and Y Harish Chandra Prasad  with conspiracy and cheating.

The CBI has registered around 16 regular cases on coal block allocations, including those against Member of Parliament 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.

During the two-hour long hearing on Monday, the apex court deliberated upon the role the Central Vigilance Commission as superintending authority over the CBI.

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