NGO Seeks SC Recusal of CBI Officer in Coal Scam Probe
The CBI informed the Supreme Court on Wednesday that it has so far investigated 157 out of 168 cases in the coal block allocation scam and said that 25 cases require closure, even as an NGO sought the recusal of a senior CBI official from the probe .
Submitting the fresh status before a Bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha, the CBI said that it was not willing to share details of 25 cases with the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), as it is the prerogative of the investigating agency to decide whether case can be made out or not.
The CBI also expressed its reservation on sending cases to the CVC, in which regular cases have been registered, saying it would be contrary to the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), which makes it mandatory for the probe agency to file chargesheets in a competent court with all materials.
However, the Bench disagreed with the submission and said “prima facie we don’t find any impediment in referring matters to the CVC”. It said though there was no disagreement that the Constitution dictates court-monitored investigation, the CrPC would not come in the way of matters being referred to the CVC.
Countering the stand taken by the CBI, advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for an NGO, who is a petitioner in the case sought the apex court’s nod for recusal of a senior CBI official from Coalgate probe, on the ground of conflict of interest. He also accused the CBI’s counsel of advising it to desist from filing chargesheets after being privy to status reports. The court will hear the matter on Thursday and asked the CBI to take instruction on O P Galhotra, CBI’s Joint Director, who was related to Congress MP Navin Jindal, an accused in the coal block allocation scam.
“You seek instruction on Galhotra and we will see on Thursday,” the Bench said.
“First he (Amarendra Sharan) opposed the appointment of amicus curiae in the matter and then sought permission to see status reports. In the guise of seeing status reports now he is sitting above everybody and advising the Central Bureau of Investigation not to file chargesheets,” Bhushan alleged.