The CBI on Monday chose to defend the transfer of a senior IPS officer, who was heading the coalgate probe, terming it a routine one.
In a strong rebuttal of the charges, the premier investigation agency said the official -- Ravikant belonging to the IPS Odisha Cadre -- had been transferred as he had completed his tenure.
“Ravikant, who was the Superintendent of Police (SP) in some of the coal allocation cases, had completed his tenure in the CBI as SP. He was offered an extension and (it was) even insisted upon but he agreed for only a year’s term and himself sought to move out of the CBI due to family reasons,” the CBI submitted in court.
The probe agency’s clarification came in response to a petition filed by NGO ‘Common Cause’ in the Supreme Court. And it had sought the appointment of a special investigating team (SIT) probe to look into the Centre’s alleged interference in the investigation into the multi-crore scam.
And the petitioner alleged that the CBI was not fit to probe the scam, as the agency at the instance of the Centre had “changed and diluted” its status report which it was to file before the apex court.
Further, it was alleged that the law officers of the Centre had attempted to mislead the court by stating that they had not seen the status report, when the same had been shown to them by the CBI.
The NGO also submitted that the CBI officer, who was supervising the investigation and who had filed the affidavit, was replaced during the course of the probe.
It suggested that a retired judge be appointed to head the SIT and it would help the court to monitor the case. According to the petitioner, this would add to the credibility of the probe by insulating it from political and corporate influences.
“The report had been seen by the Centre before it was filed in court, the same had been vetted and its observations had been diluted by the CBI at the instance of the Centre,” it alleged.
‘Common Cause’, which filed the application through its counsel Prashant Bhushan, cited the example of the appointment of retired apex court judge Justice B N Agarwal in the Sahara case, to supervise the refund of the investors’ money as well as the action taken by market regulator SEBI to enforce the court’s directions.
Earlier, counsel M L Sharma on whose petition the CBI probe was ordered into coalgate, mentioned the issue of the Centre’s reported interference before a Bench headed by Justice R M Lodha. However, the Bench said since the matter had been listed for hearing on April 30, there was no need for any intervention by the apex court at the moment.
Nonetheless, it allowed him to file an application on the issue, which could be taken up on the scheduled date of hearing.
The CBI in its status report, filed on March 8, had said the coal block allocation made during 2006-09 was done without verifying the credentials of the companies, which allegedly misrepresented the facts about themselves.