SC grants more time to CBI to file chargesheet in coalgate

Last Updated: Mon, Mar 10, 2014 13:38 hrs
Supreme Court

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation on Monday sought more time to file chargesheets in the 'coalgate' scam and the Supreme Court reluctantly granted it 12 days.

It said that the CBI should take action before March 28 when the case will be heard again. CBI wanted four weeks, arguing that some more investigation has to be made.

If the probe was hurried, it would be "botched up", CBI counsel said. He wanted time till April 10, which would have clashed with the election programme. Common Cause counsel Prashant Bhushan objected to such a long adjournment alleging that the CBI wanted to take it beyond the polls.

He said that six charge sheets are ready, according to the CBI itself. The bench headed by Justice RM Lodha persuaded the CBI to file the charge sheets early, observing that if the investigating agency wanted they can do it faster. The CBI should be interested in finishing off the whole work and take it to the logical conclusion.

Earlier, the court heard counsel for the Central Vigilance Commission, the CBI, activist Vineet Narain and Prashant Bhushan on the question of insulating the investigating agency from governmental interference. CVC stated that it would abide by whatever the court directed it to do.

The CBI wanted protection from interference but differed on the nuances of the law. Bhushan was not satisfied with the proposals moved by CBI, alleging that the administrative power at the top is still being used to scotch all the good work done below by investigating officers.

Even if there was prima facie evidence, the case is closed by the top officers. The government wanted access to documents and income tax records from Hindalco, which is one of the companies being probed in the coal allocation scandal.

According to Bhushan, the raid on the premises had yielded diaries and records of cash payments to politicians. Therefore all these information should come out in the public. The court asked CBI to respond to the request by March 28.

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