Coal scam: SC directs CBI to file fresh status report on probe against ex-CBI chief Ranjit Sinha

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Published: February 19, 2020 8:15:31 PM

Ranjit Sinha is accused of trying to impede the CBI's investigation into the cases, which emerged in 2012 after a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General was leaked to the media.

The CBI had filed a charge sheet in the case in April 2015. (PTI)

The Supreme court Wednesday directed the CBI to file a fresh status report within four weeks on the probe into the charges of “abuse of official position” by former agency chief Ranjit Sinha and the progress made in over 50 coal scam cases. A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Deepak Gupta granted time to the agency after it sought time. Sinha is accused of trying to impede the CBI’s investigation into the cases, which emerged in 2012 after a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) was leaked to the media.

The apex court dismissed the plea filed by lawyer ML Sharma seeking a direction to the CBI to take coercive steps against Naveen Jindal, allegedly the main beneficiary of coal scam cases. The bench took note of the statement of advocate Amit Anand Tiwari, appearing for the CBI, that probe agency has followed the procedure and did not arrest the accused as that was not necessary. He further said that as many as 55 regular cases have been registered by the CBI in the coal scam cases and it has taken steps like impounding of certain passports of people if there were apprehensions of absconding. He said that no arrest has been made as the offences were registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The apex court had earlier asked senior advocate RS Cheema to continue as special public prosecutor (SPP)to conduct trials for the Enforcement Directorate as well in money laundering cases related to the coal block scam. The top court had been undertaking the exercise to find a replacement of Cheema as SPP for ED cases after he had urged that he be relieved as the prosecutor in money laundering cases. Cheema, who was appointed the SPP in coal block scam cases in 2014, had said however that he would continue as the SPP for prosecuting coal scam cases filed by the CBI. The CAG had found discrepancies in coal block allocations made by the previous Manmohan Singh government, which allegedly cost the national exchequer Rs 1.86 lakh crore in losses. The CBI had filed a charge sheet in the case in April 2015.

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