NEW DELHI: A special court today pulled up the CBI for trying to segregate one of the cases arising out of the coal block allocation scam to keep it away from being tried by it and seeking its transfer to a regular court.
The court was anguished that the CBI, which itself had got the case transferred to it from the regular court by citing a Supreme Court order, was seeking re-transfer of the case against two government officials on the ground that it was different from those being monitored by the apex court.
Special Judge Bharat Parashar said it was "strange" that despite relying on the Supreme Court's July 25 order on setting up of Special Court for coalgate, the CBI prosecutor and the investigating officer (IO) have not gone through it and were making distinction between the cases probed by its two wings--anti-corruption unit and economic offences wing.
The CBI, during the proceedings, later withdrew its application for transfer of the case from the Special Court to the regular court.
The judge expressed his displeasure that the CBI sought to make its own categorisation of the cases without consulting the apex-court appointed Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) R S Cheema, who has been authorised to examine documents relating to the scam.
"Have you (prosecutor) gone through the Supreme Court's order of July 25....The CBI is relying on the Supreme Court's order but you are saying you have not gone through the order of the Supreme Court. This is strange," the judge observed and added that "You (CBI) are not preferring to talk to SPP appointed by the Supreme Court. The CBI has to take a stand."
The remarks were made by the Special Judge as both the prosecutor and the IO replied in the negative to his question whether they have gone through the apex court order.
However, at this juncture, the court granted time to the prosecutor to explain about charges framed against two public servants, who are accused in the case in which the Delhi High Court had recently quashed charges against Chhattisgarh-based Prakash Industries Ltd and its director.
When the hearing resumed after two hours, the agency's prosecutor told the court that he has now gone through the apex court's order and he was convinced that only the Special Court will deal with all the coal blocks allocation cases.
"I have gone through the Supreme Court's order. In view of the observations of the Supreme Court, I am convinced that this court should deal with the matters and I am withdrawing my application," the prosecutor said after which the court allowed his submissions to withdraw the plea.
During today's hearing in the case, in which charges were framed against Prakash Industries Ltd, its Director (Corporate Affairs) A K Chaturvedi, Executive Secretary Goutam Kumar Basak and Manager (F&A) Soumen Chatterjee of the Ministry of Steel's Joint Plant Committee, the special court discharged the firm and its director in view of the Delhi High Court's order quashing the charges.
"Counsel Vijay Aggarwal (representing the company and its director) has submitted the certified copy of order dated September 5 passed by the High Court wherein accused A K Chaturvedi and Prakash Industries Ltd have been discharged as charges framed against them by trial court have been quashed.
"Public prosecutor also admitted that such an order has been passed by the High Court. Accordingly, in view of the order of Delhi High Court, accused A K Chaturvedi and Prakash Industries Ltd stand discharged," the judge said.
However, the CBI prosecutor told the court that as per the order of the High Court, now charges of 120-B (criminal conspiracy) under the IPC read with provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act remain on the other two accused who will now face the trial.
The agency also informed the court that the CBI was in the process of preferring an appeal against the order of the High Court.
However, after hearing the arguments, the judge posted the matter for October 20, saying that it would hear SPP Cheema on this aspect.
"I have heard senior PP V K Sharma. He states that as SPP R S Cheema is not available today so further arguments/ clarifications may be taken on the next date when Mr Cheema will be present. Put up for October 20," the judge said.
The CBI had earlier told the court that it required time to examine as to which of the alleged offences against the two remaining accused, who were public servants, should sustain and what evidence was to be led now in view of the High Court's order.