Coal scam case: CBI cannot sit over the matter, says court

NEW DELHI :  CBI today faced the ire of a special court for failing to furnish the progress report in the further probe ordered by it in a coal blocks allocation case with the judge observing that the investigating agency cannot “sit over” the matter.
“The order was passed 46 days ago. You (CBI) are saying that the report is being sent for forwarding. You cannot sit over the matter. CBI can either challenge the order or comply with it but they cannot sit over it,” Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar said.
The court’s observation came while hearing a case in which it had earlier summoned former coal secretary H C Gupta, then Joint Secretary of Coal K S Kropha, the then Director (Coal Allocation-I section) K C Samaria and two officials of Madhya Pradesh-based company Kamal Sponge Steel and Power Ltd (KSSPL) as accused after refusing to accept the CBI’s closure report.
Besides Gupta, Kropha and Samaria, the court had summoned KSSPL’s Managing Director Pawan Kumar Ahluwalia and Chartered Accountant Amit Goyal as accused in the case. These five accused were granted bail by the court on October 31.
During the hearing today, the investigating officer (IO) informed the court that steps were being taken for necessary compliance of the court’s order regarding further probe.
The court, however, pulled up the IO for not bringing case diary with him.
“Why the case diary is not with you (IO)? Should I pass an order daily that the case diary should be placed before the court?,” the judge said.
Meanwhile, the court also issued a show cause notice to the regional passport officer, Bhopal, as to why a cost of Rs 5,000 be not deducted from his salary as it was not satisfied with the documents filed by one of the officials, who had come from Bhopal’s passport office, on the petition of an accused seeking return of his passport which was seized by CBI.
The court observed that despite receiving the plea filed by the accused, the passport office in Bhopal did not file a proper reply in the court.
The court has now fixed the matter regarding progress report of the investigation for December 22.
It also asked the IO to supply all relevant documents to the advocates appearing for the accused after the defence counsel pointed out certain deficiencies in the documents supplied by CBI.
The court also heard another coal scam matter in which in had earlier ordered further probe while refusing to accept the CBI’s closure report related to allocation of Moira and Madhujore (North and South) coal blocks in West Bengal to Vikash Metal and Power Ltd.
The agency told the court that they have taken specimen signatures of some of the persons, who were named as accused in the FIR. It said that further probe in the matter was going on in compliance with the court’s order.
The court fixed the matter for January 30 after the agency said it needed some time to file a progress report.
The court was hearing the case involving Vikash Metal and Power Ltd (VMPL) and its officials in which they were accused of making false claims related to land allocation to get undue advantage in the coal block allocation. The FIR was filed in September 2012.
CBI, however, had later on filed a closure report saying the allegations against VMPL or its directors or even against the public servants could not be substantiated during the course of investigation.
The FIR was registered against VMPL, its directors, including Vimal Patni, Vikash Patni and Anand Patni, and Anand Mallick who was the authorised signatory for the company.
They were booked for the alleged offences under sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) of the IPC.
In the case involving Kamal Sponge Steel and Power Ltd and others, all the accused were summoned for offences under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant) and 420 (cheating) under the IPC.
Only H C Gupta was summoned for the offences punishable under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The case pertains to alleged misrepresentation of facts, including inflated net worth, by KSSPL to acquire Thesgora-B/ Rudrapuri coal block in Madhya Pradesh. (AGENCIES)


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