The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked U Lalit, lawyer appearing for the CBI, during the hearing of the coal scam: “Can you examine your manual and tell us whether the Law Minister is entitled to call the CBI Director and peruse the draft status report?”
A Bench comprising Justice R M Lodha, Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Kurian Joseph said: “If they (the CBI investigating officers) are not independent, we have to pass another order.” Justice Lodha, referring to the Coal Ministry, said: “Information is given after a lot of reminders. And the Coal Ministry is not cooperating in giving the required documents. It requires scrutinising a large number of documents,” the judge pointed out.
“The CBI has to act independently, impartially. It can’t share (information) with anybody,” Justice Lodha remarked. At this stage, advocate Manohar Lal Sharma, who filed the writ petition in the coal scam last year, told the Bench that “as many as 99 blocks have been given to government companies. But they have not given the names of the government companies”.
On this, Attorney General G E Vahanvati said, “Most of them are power generating companies. I have the list.” “We have to ensure that there is no interference and influence. Investigation has to be impeccable, honest and uninfluenced. The investigation has been influenced by somebody who has no business to do so,” the Bench remarked. “The entire information to be given by the CBI must be candid, truthful and founded on record,” Justice Lodha said.