Coal scam: CBI files progress report in sealed cover

CBI on Tuesday filed a progress report of its ongoing investigation in a sealed cover before a special court in a coal blocks allocation scam case, in which the agency was directed to "examine" former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Coal scam: CBI files progress report in sealed cover

New Delhi: CBI on Tuesday filed a progress report of its ongoing investigation in a sealed cover before a special court in a coal blocks allocation scam case, in which the agency was directed to "examine" former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The agency also filed statements of various persons recorded during the probe in a sealed cover and sought two weeks time to complete its probe in the case, allegedly involving former Coal Secretary P C Parakh, industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla and others.

During the hearing, the court opened the sealed cover and perused the statements and documents filed by CBI, but later ordered that the documents be again kept in sealed cover.

Senior public prosecutor V K Sharma requested the court that till completion of further investigation, the statements or documents filed by the agency today be kept in sealed cover and may not be allowed for inspection.

"Progress report of further investigation has been filed alongwith statements of various persons as recorded during the course of further investigation in a sealed cover besides some other documents," Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar said.

"The sealed cover has been, however, opened and I have perused the statement of the persons recorded and documents thereof. It is directed that the statements and the documents be kept in a sealed cover and be sealed with the seal of the court," the judge said.

After the CBI informed the court that they would complete their ongoing probe within two weeks, the judge fixed the case for hearing on February 19.

"The matter be now put up on February 19 for filing progress report of further investigation," the court said.

The progress report was filed in pursuance to the court's December 16, 2014 order directing the agency to examine Manmohan Singh and some top PMO officials, including Singh's then Principal Secretary T K A Nair and then private secretary B V R Subramanyam.

Nair was also earlier examined by the agency but the court had noted in its order that it would be "appropriate" if the CBI re-examines him.

The case pertains to allocation of Talabira II coal block in Orissa to M/s Hindalco in 2005.

As soon as the hearing commenced, the prosecutor told the court that CBI was filing the documents in compliance with the December 16 last year order and it would place some more material along with its further progress report.

During the hearing, the judge allowed the request of CBI investigating officer seeking return of two original files pertaining to the case, which were filed earlier, for further probe.

"In the facts and circumstances of the case and in view of the submissions made, let the two original files as mentioned above be returned to the IO after retaining photocopy thereof. The files be returned back upon completion of further investigation," it said.

After the court had passed order on December 16 last year, the CBI has recorded statements of Singh, Nair, Subramanyam and others in connection with the case.

The CBI had earlier lodged an FIR against Birla, Parakh, M/s Hindalco Industries Ltd and other unknown persons for the offences under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

However, later, the agency had filed a closure report in the case on August 27 last year opining that no criminal offence was committed by any of the persons involved in the entire process of allocation of Talabira-II coal block to Hindalco.

The court had on December 16 refused to accept the CBI's closure report and ordered further probe into the case.

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