Coal scam:Court pulls up CBI for not probing ''crucial aspects''

Coal scam:Court pulls up CBI for not probing ''crucial aspects''

Coal scam:Court pulls up CBI for not probing ''crucial aspects''

 CBI was today pulled up by a Delhi court for not properly probing the "crucial aspects" regarding the alleged roles of government officials in allocating coal blocks to Navbharat Power Pvt Ltd which was chargesheeted in the case along with its two top executives.

The court observed that it was not inclined to summon the accused -- Navbharat Power Pvt Ltd, its Managing Director and Vice-Chairman Harishchandra Prasad and its Chairman P Trivikrama Prasad -- at this stage as "piecemeal cognisance" of the charge sheet cannot be taken.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Gaurav Rao also observed that taking cognisance of CBI's charge sheet or summoning the accused when the probe was still pending will be nothing "short of mockery".

The court directed the CBI's investigating officer (IO) to conclude the probe by August 30, the next date of hearing, and file a detailed report before it by then.

"Accordingly, in view of my above observations, IO of the case is directed to expedite the investigation as taking cognisance/summoning of the accused persons at this stage when the investigation is still pending on material aspects will be nothing short of mockery.

"Piecemeal cognisance cannot be taken more so when crucial aspect of the investigation still remains and important chain/ link of the conspiracy remains to be unearthed," the ACMM said.

The court also pulled up the CBI's IO saying either he was "deliberately hesitant" to probe the case in terms of Central Vigilance Commission's (CVC) reference or he was "unaware of basic aspects of investigation despite immense experience and expertise at his disposal which he ought to have on account of his tenure in the service/department."

The court's observation came while dealing a case in which Navbharat Power Pvt Ltd (NPPL) and its officials were chargesheeted by CBI for offences under Sections 420 (cheating) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC for allegedly misrepresenting facts, including inflated net worth, to acquire coal blocks. (More) PTI ABA PPS VMN 05131918

The court, in its six-page order, said, "The CVC while its directions/observations/reference had in plain language/ unambiguously opined/recommended for an enquiry against the officials of Ministry of Coal, however, almost two years have elapsed but the investigation is silent as to the role of the above officials despite tall claims made in charge sheet that they had facilitated the company in getting coal blocks as they did not scrutinise the false claims/misrepresentations."

It also said that almost two years have elapsed but the probe into the case was not complete and "it has not made any headway whatsoever qua the reference/recommendations of CVC."

"The charge sheet makes it apparently clear that the very basis of the investigation/reasons and purpose for which reference was made to CBI is concerned (role of officials of Ministry of Coal) has been 'side tracked' and investigation seems to have concentrated on the representations made by the company and its director/chairman in question," it said.

The ACMM observed that reference made by the CVC cannot be "ignored/sidelined/kept in a cold freezer as it is the very basis/foundation/genesis of the present prosecution."

The court said that it has failed to understand as to why the CBI "could not lay its hand" over the officials of the administrative ministry/state government, who ignored the alleged misrepresentation regarding net worth, purchase of land by the firm, members of screening committee and the Coal Ministry.

"If indeed the misrepresentations were fraudulently made, I fail to understand how they were ignored at all the three levels by above committees consisting of senior/responsible government officials," the ACMM said.

The CBI, in its charge sheet against NPPL and its two officials, alleged that they made fraudulent representation to acquire the coal blocks.

It claimed net worth of the firm applying for coal blocks was an important factor to determine its financial strength and NPPL fraudulently claimed in its application form that it was supported by Globeleq Singapore Pvt Ltd, Navbharat Ventures Ltd and Mahalaxmi Group Ltd.

CBI also alleged that the accused firm claimed before the screening committee in its June 23, 2007 presentation as well as on the feedback form that it had the net worth of Navbharat (307 crore approx.) and that of Suez Energy International Pvt Ltd as 1.05 lakh crore approximately thereby "bolstering their own claims though they had no legal basis to claim so."

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