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SC moots special public prosecutor for coal cases, asks CBI for names

Financial Express, Delhi, 9th July 2014


Proposing setting up of a special court and appointment of a special public prosecutor on the lines of the 2G case in 2012, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the CBI and others to suggest names for the latter who can deal with cases related to wrongdoings in the allocation of coal blocks.

While allowing chargesheets to be filed, it restrained the agency from filing closure reports in the coal scam and asked it to follow the Central Vigilance Commission's decision, where there is a difference of opinion in the CBI itself.

The bench headed by Chief Justice RM Lodha gave time till July 18 to suggest the names for appointment of the special public prosecutor.

The judges also pulled up the investigative agency for the slow progress of probe. It, however, gave three more months to complete the task which was scheduled to end by December last year.

CBI senior counsel Amarendra Saran said voluminous evidence has to be examined and the same runs into more than 1,00,000 pages. He also informed the bench that out of 168 cases of preliminary inquiry, probe has been completed in 166 allotments.

During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, appearing for the Income Tax Department, submitted that tax officers should be allowed to inspect documents seized by the CBI from the premises of Hindalco in order to initiate proceedings against the Aditya Birla Group under the Income Tax Act. Singh said there was a report that the CBI, while raiding the premises of Hindalco across India, recovered unaccounted cash of around R25 crore.

The CBI has also initiated around 16 regular cases on coal block allocations, including those against then MP Naveen Jindal and former MoS for coal Dasari Narayan Rao in relation to coal block allocation and against KM Birla and former coal secretary PC Parakh for alleged illegality in grant of blocks to Hindalco Industries.

The companies booked so far include AMR Iron and Steel, JLD Yavatmal Energy, Vini Iron and Steel Udyog, JAS Infrastructure Capital Pvt, Vikash Metals, Grace Industries, Gagan Sponge, Jindal Steel and Power, Rathi Steel and Power, Jharkhand Ispat, Green Infrastructure, Kamal Sponge, Pushp Steel, Hindalco, BLA Industries, Castron Technologies and Castron Mining.