The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Special Investigation Team of the Central Bureau of Investigation to file a fresh status report on the inquiry into charges of “abuse of official position” by former agency chief Ranjit Sinha in the coal scam cases, PTI reported.
A special bench of Justices MB Lokur, Justices Kurian Joseph and AK Sikri was hearing the matter. The bench asked the CBI’s Special Investigation Team to file the status report by January 15, 2019. The last status report covered the inquiry conducted until January 15 this year. The bench is monitoring the probe by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate into the coal scam cases.
The bench reiterated its earlier order that officers investigating and supervising these cases should not be transferred or removed without permission of the top court.
The court also asked the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI to file updated status reports on all pending coal scam cases.
Sinha is accused of trying to impede the CBI’s investigation into the cases, which emerged in 2012 after a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General was leaked to the media. The audit found discrepancies in coal block allocations made by the previous Manmohan Singh government, which allegedly cost the national exchequer Rs 1.86 lakh crore in losses. The CBI had filed a chargesheet in the case in April 2015.
The bench also issued a notice to state-owned Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Ltd on a petition filed by the non-profit Common Cause alleging that despite the Supreme Court’s order of 2014, coal blocks were allocated to a joint venture of the PSU and Adani Enterprise Ltd, which held the majority stake, reported Business Standard.
In 2014, the Supreme Court had cancelled 214 of the 218 coal blocks allocated to various companies since 1993. It had said that state governments or public sector undertakings were not eligible to mine coal for commercial use.