Set up spl court to try coal scam cases: SC

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 19 2014, 05:40am hrs
The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Delhi High Court to set up a special court exclusively to try cases related to the coal blocks allocation scam and also asked the court's chief justice to name within a week a special judge who will deal with the cases arising out of the investigation conducted by the CBI and Enforcement Directorate.

As of now we direct the secretary general of the Supreme Court to write to the registrar general of the Delhi High Court to take orders from the chief justice to nominate an officer from the Delhi Higher Judicial Service as special judge to deal with coal block allocation matters registered under the Indian Penal Code, Prevention of Corruption Act, Prevention of Money Laundering Act and other allied offences, the bench said.

The bench, comprising Justices MB Lokur and Kurian Joseph, also asked the CBI and other parties to persuade former solicitor general Gopal Subramanium to take up the special public prosecutor's job for conducting the trial proceedings. We want a person of impeccable integrity and with free legal mind, it said.

Meanwhile, the Centre in another batch of matters sought transfer of all cases related to cancellation of mining licences pending before different high courts to the apex court. The CJI's bench sought a reply from mining companies that had challenged the cancellation of their licences in various high courts.

The companies include Corporate Ispat Alloys, JWS Energy (Jindal Thermal Power), Bhushan Power and Steel, Sainik Mining and Allied Service, UltraTech Cement, Jharkhand State Mineral Development Corporation, Jayaswal Neco Industries and Bihar Sponge Iron, among others. According to the government, the petitions filed by these allocatees before different HCs involve substantial questions of general importance like the jurisdiction and power of the inter-ministerial group (IMG) to review the progress of development of coal blocks allotted, to recommend for de-allocation where substantial progress has not be made or to direct providing of bank guarantee, to invoke ba-nk guarantee as well as the decision to cancel licences based on IMG's recommendations.

It further said IMG took up 58 cases for review where show-cause notices were issued consequent to the recommendations by the review panel in January 2012. The firms had alleged violation of principles of natural justice and power to frame guidelines/criteria to be followed and power and jurisdiction to make such recommendations, the coal ministry stated.