Court asks CBI: Was rule of law followed during coal block allocation to Birla?

New Delhi: A special court today asked theCBI to clarify whether "rule of law" was followed inallocation of coal blocks to top industrialist Kumar MangalamBirla's Hindalco.

During the hearing on the closure report filed by the CBIin its FIR lodged against Birla, former coal secretary PC Parakh and others, the court asked the agency whether therewas an act of "omission or commission" in the allocation ofblocks to Hindalco.

"You (CBI) have to clarify three things. First, whetherthe rule of law was followed or not. Second is whether there was an act of omission or commission in it and the last one iswhether the act of omission or commission, if any, has anelement of criminality," Special CBI Judge Bharat Parasharsaid.

During the hearing, the CBI's investigating officer (IO)told the court that during their probe, they have not found any criminality in allocation of coal blocks to Hindalco.

The investigating officer said that initially the screening committee had notrecommended allocation of coal blocks to Hindalco but later onit reviewed its decision at the request of Birla and said thatblocks be given to Hindalco.

The judge, however, asked the IO, "whether this route waspermissible to accommodate him like this."

The court also said, "we are not here to see whether coalblocks were rightly allocated. We have to see whether rule oflaw was followed."

However, when the judge posed the queries to the officer, hesaid that special public prosecutor RS Cheema would addressthe court on these issues.

"Further clarification has been sought. IO said that inthe absence of special public prosecutor (SPP), he is not in a position to make any submission and he may be given sometimeto brief the SPP so that response to the query being made bythe court is accordingly given," the judge said and fixed thematter for 12 September.

The CBI, on 28 August, had filed a closure report in thecase in which it had earlier lodged FIR against Birla, Parakh and others in one of the coal blocks allocation scam cases.

PTI

Updated Date: Dec 21, 2014 13:47:31 IST