NEW DELHI: The CBI and the Centre were at loggerheads on the coalgate scam in the Supreme Court on Tuesday with the agency pointing out irregularities in the coal block allocation during UPA-I tenure and the government vehemently refuting the allegations.
The CBI told the Supreme Court that proper procedure was not followed in the allotment of coal blocks by the central government.
The CBI status report said that the allocation during 2006-09 was done without verifying the credentials of companies which allegedly misrepresented facts about themselves.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice R M Lodha, which went through the report filed in a sealed cover, said that the report prima facie alleges irregularities, but the attorney general GE Vahanvati aggressively hit back on the finding saying, “CBI is not the final word on this”.
Vahanvati, however, clarified that the government has no problem with CBI probe and pleaded the court to supply him with some part of the probe report on which he would respond.
“I am not trying to pre-empt the inquiry. I have no problem with it. Let CBI probe the allocation,” the AG said.
The bench said the government should make a statement cautiously as it might affect the ongoing CBI probe in the case.
“Any of your comments must not prejudice CBI inquiry in the case. If you are challenging the very conspiracy angle of the controversy, then it would affect the probe,” the bench, also comprising justices J Chelameswar and Madan B Lokur, said.
Taking note of the govt stand, the SC ordered CBI to insulate itself from political executive during the investigations into coal scam.
The apex court asked the CBI director to file an affidavit giving an undertaking that no part of investigation into coal scam would be shared with government in future.
The apex court also asked the Centre to file additional affidavit in three weeks answering CBI’s prima-facie view that there was no fixed procedure for allotment of coal blocks.
The bench further directed the government to explain why a small group of companies have been “picked and chosen” for allocation of coal blocks out of the large number of companies that applied for it.
(Inputs from PTI)