Millennium Post

Civil society asks SC to direct Coalgate probe

The former chief election commissioner N Gopalaswami, the former navy chief L Ramdas and the former cabinet secretary T S R Subramanian are among those members of the civil society who approached the Supreme Court on Thursday for a court-monitored special investigation team [SIT] probe into the coal block allocation scam.

They have filed a joint public-interest litigation [PIL] along with other retired bureaucrats and the NGO Common Cause, urging the court to quash the entire allocation of coal blocks to private companies made by the central government from 1993 onwards. They have alleged that the allotment of coal blocks was non-transparent and done in violation of rules and procedures.

The PIL says that the involvement of senior ministers, public servants, different departments of the centre and state governments concerned, alleged corruption and bribery by beneficiary companies needs to be investigated.

'Considering the magnitude of investigation and possibility of involvement of high public offices, including the PMO, and the fact that CBI functions under the very government it is supposed to investigate, a court-monitored investigation by an SIT is required to ensure proper investigation in the matter,' the petition said.

The PIL filed through the lawyer Prashant Bhushan says, 'That investigation of the CBI at the instance of CVC is partial and does not cover the full magnitude of the coal scam. The alleged conspiracy in blocking the policy of competitive bidding and the manner in which the screening committee functioned need to be investigated thoroughly, which involves senior ministers including the highest executive office of the country.'

The Supreme Court has already taken up another PIL on coal block allocation, in which it has issued notice to the central government.
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