New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre and the CBI to take immediate steps to repatriate IPS officer Ravi Kant Mishra, who was the investigating officer in the coal blocks allocation scam.
A 1998-batch IPS officer of Odisha cadre, Mishra was one of the four DIGs who were heading probe in cases related to alleged irregularities in coal blocks allocation and had been shifted to Intelligence Bureau after his three-year deputation with CBI.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice R M Lodha said that CBI Director Ranjit Sinha should ensure that the 33 officers, including Mishra, whose names have been submitted in the apex court, are not changed without its prior permission.
"Immediate steps should be taken by the Union of India and the CBI to repatriate Ravi Kant Mishra, IPS on deputation, back with CBI for inquiry, investigation in coal blocks allocation case.
"Director CBI shall ensure that 33 officials, the list of which has been supplied to this court, including Ravi Kant Mishra, are not changed without the permission of this court," the bench, also comprising justices Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, said.
During the three-hour long hearing, the bench wanted to know as to why Mishra, who was then a DIG in CBI, was changed midway during the ongoing probe.
CBI's counsel U U Lalit informed the bench that Mishra wanted transfer after his three-year deputation period in the CBI got over.
The bench, however, said that it would like Mishra to be back with the CBI as it creates "unwanted" suspicion.
"It creates suspicion even if the suspicion is unwanted. We can always restore the posting of Ravi Kant. We do not want to lead any suspicion for public cause even if he has some personal difficulties, we would like him to be back with CBI. Personal difficulties should not come in the way of public cause," it said.
The apex court also made it clear to the CBI that in the probe into the case, no access "of any nature" should be given to anyone who is not a part of the investigating team.
"Henceforth, the Director CBI shall ensure that in the inquiry/investigation of allocation of coal block, no access of any nature is provided to any person, authority including ministers, law minister or any other central minister, law officers, counsel of CBI, department of Prosecution, CBI or any person or any officer of central government or any person outside the investigating team," the bench said.
It also directed CBI that status report, to be submitted before it, should not be supplied to anyone.
The apex court also directed that if CBI Director needs inclusion of any member in the investigating team, he can file an application before it in this regard.
"Should CBI Director need inclusion of expert in the team, he can file an application to this court," it said and asked the CBI Director to file status report by July 5.