NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on the plea by NGO Common Cause, seeking a probe into alleged hawala transactions, money laundering and bribery for the allocation of Talabira II coal block to Kumar Manglam Birla-owned Hindalco.
The court also issued notice on a plea for investigation into the permission granted for diversion of coal from the captive coal block allocated to Sasan UMPP that was adversely commented upon by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).A Bench of Justice Madan B Lokur, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice A K Sikri, hearing cases in the coal block allocation scam, issued notice after senior counsel Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, said no probe was undertaken despite the Income Tax Department saying that Hindalco had allegedly paid `200 crore to various people for securing interest in Talabira coal block.
Bhushan submitted how could the investigating agencies take a position that they would not investigate these payments made by Hindalco. He said that the I-T Department came to the conclusion on the basis of the details revealed in the diary seized by the CBI from the office of Hindalco.
Bhushan submitted a sealed cover which carried details of the findings thrown up by the I-T investigation into the use of money by Hindalco to facilitate the allocation of a part of the coal block. He said that the apex court in its judgment cancelling the coal blocks had said that no coal from the captive coal blocks allocated to UMPP would be diverted for any other purposes.
The court also asked Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to ascertain from former CBI officer M L Sharma if he was inclined to head the team that would look into the meetings, the probe agency’s former chief, Ranjit Sinha had with coal block allocation scam accused. The SIT so set up would investigate if these meetings had in any way impacted the investigations and subsequent chargesheets or closure reports filed by the CBI in the coal block allocation scam cases.
While directing the listing of the matter for July 13, the court asked Rohatgi to speak to Sharma and seek his consent. The court also said that if Sharma were to give his consent, then he should be asked to give a few names that he may like to have in the SIT to investigate the matter as directed by the apex court by its May 14 order, in which it, holding as inappropriate the meetings between Sinha and the accused, had referred the matter to the CVC for its opinion about further course of action.
Bhushan had also suggested the name of Justice N Santosh Hegde, former apex court judge, saying he was a former Lokaayukta of Karnataka and has experience in conducting inquiry.
The court in its judgement had said even if Sinha were right, there cannot at all be any justification for him to meet any accused person in a criminal case where investigation is under way, without the investigating officer being present, whether it is in his office or as alleged byBhushan, at his residence and that too, allegedly, several times including late at night.
Bhushan also asked the Bench to enlarge the domain for the whistle-blowers by setting up a credible body of citizens where they could provide information.”
A special court here summoned former Coal Secretary H C Gupta and two others as accused in a coal scam case, which noted that the bureaucrat had prima facie facilitated allocation of a Madhya Pradesh coal block to Pushp Steels and Mining Pvt Ltd resulting in losses to the government.
Visually challenged Person Moves SC on being Denied Magistrate Post
After being denied entry into the Judicial Service by Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission and Madras High Court, Surendra Mohan, a 70 per cent visually impaired person and an Assistant Public Prosecutor of the CBI, has filed a Special Leave Petition before the Supreme Court. The Madras High Court had upheld the decision of TNPSC stating that the 70 per cent partial visual impairment suffered by the candidate exceeds the maximum permissible limit of 40 to 50 percent visual impairment. The plea was filed pointing out that it was unfair on the part of the State authorities to deny him the appointment when there was no candidate for it .
SC Agrees to Hear PIL on Appointment of CEC, ECs to Poll Panel
The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a plea seeking a direction to the Centre to constitute an independent Selection Committee to recommend the names for the post of Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners. A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India(CJI) H L Dattu asked lawyer Anoop Baranwal to make certain changes in the prayer of his PIL and posted it for hearing on July 13. The plea has sought a direction to Centre “to make law for ensuring a fair, just and transparent process of selection by constituting a neutral and independent Collegium/ Selection Committee to recommend the name for the appointment of member to the Election Commission”.
SC Issues Notice to Centre, States on Law against Food Adulteration
The Supreme Court on Monday sought responses from the Centre and all states on a plea seeking framing of a stringent law to prevent food adulteration in the country. A Bench of Chief Justice of India(CJI) H L Dattu and Justice Arun Kumar Mishra and Justice Amitava Roy issued the notices on a PIL filed by lawyer Vineet Dhanda. The plea has sought framing of guidelines to prevent adulteration of food and other consumables. “Existing laws are incapable of punishing the offenders who contribute to the menace of rising food adulteration and also are insufficient to control the problem of adulteration of food and other consumable products in our country,” the petition said.