Coal scam: SC issues notice to Centre, CBI

Last Updated: Mon, Nov 19, 2012 14:54 hrs

The Supreme Court on Monday issued notices to the Centre and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on a plea that demanded Special Investigation Team (SIT)'s probe in connection to the coal block allocation scam.

The Supreme Court bench comprising of justices R M Lodha and A R Dave also asked for a response from the Centre and the CBI to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that sought cancellation of licences that the government gave to private companies for coal blocks.

Posting the matter for further hearing on Jan 24, the court directed the Centre and the CBI to file the reply in connection to the scam within eight weeks.

The directions were made while the bench was hearing a PIL that was filed by different members of civil society which included former Cabinet Secretary TSR Subramanian and ex-Navy chief L Ramdas.

They said only SIT could conduct an impartial investigation into the matter and alleged that the CBI probe was not sufficient.

Civil society and NGO Common Cause also filed a fresh PIL where they sought quashing of the allocations made by the Centre to private companies since 1993.

The petition said: "Considering the magnitude of investigation and possibility of involvement of high public offices, including the PMO, and the fact that CBI functions under the same very government it is supposed to investigate, a court-monitored investigation by an SIT is required to ensure proper investigation in the matter."

The coal report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has pointed finger at the loss-making coal block allocations when the portfolio was held by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The report by the CAG said 25 private companies received benefits of around Rs 1.86 lakh crore through of coalblock allocations in various states.

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