News WrapGet Handpicked Stories from our editors directly to your mailbox

Coal scam: Court pulls up CBI for delay in conducting probe

A special court on Friday pulled up the CBI for "sitting over" and delaying further investigation in a coal blocks allocation scam case and directed it to expedite the ongoing probe.

New Delhi: A special court on Friday pulled up the CBI for "sitting over" and delaying further investigation in a coal blocks allocation scam case and directed it to expedite the ongoing probe.

Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar observed this after the agency sought more time to complete its ongoing investigation in the case pertaining to allocation of Moira and Madhujore (North and South) coal blocks in West Bengal to Vikash Metal and Power Ltd (VMPL).

While seeking time to conclude the probe, CBI prosecutor told the court that since the investigation officer of the case was probing another coal blocks allocation scam case, he should be given more time to complete probe in this case.

"You (CBI) are sitting over the matter. Order for further investigation was passed on October 15, 2014 and over three months have gone by," the court said, adding, "This is not done. You cannot delay the proceedings just because you are investigating other cases."

During the hearing, the CBI informed the court that they have examined seven additional witnesses during its probe.

However, the judge observed, "If you are doing so much in further investigation that means you have not done anything in your earlier investigation."

"What is this? You (CBI) should be objective as to what you want to achieve. What is the objective you want to achieve by examining these new witnesses?," the court said.

The court fixed the matter for further hearing on February 20 and said it might hear the case on a daily basis from the next date of hearing.

"You cannot take so much time. There should be a system. You cannot put on hold these cases in the name of conducting new investigation," the judge said.

Meanwhile, the CBI filed the progress report of its probe into the case.

The court was hearing a case involving VMPL and its officials in which they are accused of making false claims relating to land allocation to get undue advantage in the coal block allocation. The FIR was filed in September 2012.

The CBI, however, had later filed a closure report saying the charges against VMPL or its directors or even against the public servants could not be substantiated during the course of the investigation.

The FIR was registered against VMPL, its directors, including Vimal Patni, Vikash Patni and Anand Patni, and Anand Mallick who was the authorised signatory for the company. They were booked for the alleged offences under sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) of the IPC.

The court on October 15 last year had refused to accept the closure report and passed an order asking CBI to further investigate the case and file a progress report.

The court had noted in its order that it would have taken cognisance of offences of criminal conspiracy and cheating against VMPL and its directors or others involved, but the probe about role of Coal Ministry officers and other public servants in the entire process of allocation of coal block needed to be further carried out.

CBI, in its FIR, had said that VMPL had wrongly claimed it had been allocated 300 acres of land in Begusarai in Bihar by the Bihar Area Development Authority.

The agency had found that the land was de-allocated and directors of the company failed to inform the screening committee members about it, it had said.