We assure a thorough coalgate probe, CBI tells SC
Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: Hours after the Supreme Court on Wednesday rapped the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) over the probe into the coal blocks allocation scam, the agency responded by assuring the apex court of thorough and qualitative investigation into coalgate.
"CBI assures Supreme Court of thorough and qualitative investigation into Coalgate. It will follow directions of Supreme Court in letter and spirit," the premier probe agency said in a statement.
Earlier on Wednesday, the apex court came down heavily on the agency, slamming Attorney General GE Vahanvati and former additional solicitor general Haren Raval for misleading the court over the sharing of the status report with the political executive.
The Supreme Court lashed out at the CBI, calling it a caged parrot that was speaking its master's voice. "It's a sordid saga that there are many masters and one parrot," the bench said.
The apex court bench is reported to have told the government's counsel that if the CBI is not made independent, "we will step in".
Stating giving unbridled power to the CBI was not possible, the SC sought an undertaking from the government that the central investigating agency will be made impartial.
The court even posed a tough question to the CBI, asking whether it was an investigator or collaborator. "The job of CBI is not to interact with government officials but to interrogate to find the truth," the court noted.
Expressing concern over the government's interference in the coal scam and other cases, the bench observed that if a law is in the offing to make the probe independent, the court will not pass any orders.
The court also pulled up Joint Secretaries in the PMO and Coal Ministry for meeting CBI officials and suggesting changes in the status report.
How on earth did Joint Secretaries attend the meeting with CBI officials and see the report, the court asked.
"Probe report is not a progress report to be shared with the government and its officials, the court observed.
The bench pointed out to the CBI that no substantial progress has been made in the coal scam probe after the case was registered.
"CBI must know how to stand up against all pulls and pressures by the government and its officials," the bench noted.
It further stated that "the heart of the report was changed on the suggestions of government officials".
The SC also directed that former CBI DIG Ravi Kant, investigating officer in the case, to resume charge.
Ravi Kant was recently shifted to the Intelligence Bureau.
(With PTI Inputs)