Coal scam: SC asks SIT to file fresh status report on probe against former CBI chief Ranjit Sinha

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked CBI's Special Investigation Team (SIT) to file a fresh status report giving details of probe into charges of "abuse of official position" by former CBI chief, who had allegedly tried to scuttle the probe in coal scam cases.

The top court also asked the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the CBI to file their updated status reports on pending coal scam cases and the stages of their trial.

A special bench headed by Justice M B Lokur, monitoring the probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED into the coal scam cases, asked the SIT to file a status report on probe into the charges against Sinha.

 Coal scam: SC asks SIT to file fresh status report on probe against former CBI chief Ranjit Sinha

File image of Ranjit Sinha. AFP

"Scope of investigation of SIT has been confined to investigate the abuse of authority committed by Ranjit Sinha with a view to scuttle the inquiry and investigation conducted by the CBI in coal scam cases. The status report is upto 15 January, 2018. Latest report till 31 December, 2018 be filed by on or before 15 January, 2019," said the bench also comprising Justices Kurian Joseph and A K Sikri.

Senior advocate R S Cheema, who has been appointed as a special public prosecutor (SPP) by the top court for coal scam cases, said that he will file the latest status report of SIT.

The top court had earlier constituted the SIT headed by former CBI special director M L Sharma to look into the prima facie allegations against Sinha for trying to influence the probe in coal scam cases.

The bench also issued notice to Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Ltd (RRVUNL) and others on an interlocutory application filed by one Sudip Shrivastava alleging that despite apex court's order of 2014, the coal blocks were allocated to a joint venture in which Adani Enterprise Ltd has a majority stake of 74 percent which is "impermissible".

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for Shrivastava said that direction should be issued to Centre to de-allocate the coal block allotted to RRUVNL, which is in contravention of Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act 2015 and 2014 verdict of apex court.

The bench then reiterated its earlier order that officers investigating and supervising the coal scam cases shall not be transferred or removed without prior express permission of the court.

Besides dealing with SIT issue, the bench also dealt with other matters related to the case, including the status reports filed earlier by the CBI and ED.

The court also perused various status report filed by ED and CBI with regard to investigation of the coal scam cases, attachment of properties, registration of cases, prosecution sanction and their stages of trial.

The ED in its status report told the bench that provisional attachment orders have been issued in more than dozen cases amounting to Rs 600.7 crore.

The SIT on January 15 had told the apex court that it would examine the bank account details of persons who had visited the official residence of its former CBI chief.

The SIT, which had filed its report giving status of its investigation into the matter, has said that "substantial progress" has been made in the investigation and its scope has been widened.

Cheema had told the court that the SIT was trying to trace the number of vehicles which used to come to Sinha's official residence.

The top court had in January last year constituted the SIT headed by the CBI director to look into the prima facie allegations against Sinha of trying to influence the probe in coal scam cases.

It was earlier informed that a panel headed by Sharma had held that the ex-CBI chief's alleged meetings with some high-profile accused in the coal scam prima facie indicated that there was an attempt to influence the investigation.

The apex court-appointed panel was probing the alleged scuttling of the investigation into coal block allocation scam cases by Sinha, whose meetings with the accused persons were held as "completely inappropriate".


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Updated Date: Nov 28, 2018 11:53:08 IST