Court pulls up passport dept for ‘passing the buck’
A special court on Wednesday rapped the passport department for routinely seeking its order to impound or release passports seized by CBI during its probe in the Coal scam cases, saying it amounted to "passing the buck" instead of performing its own duties.
The court's observations came while hearing pleas of six persons, who were named as accused in CBI's FIR but not chargesheeted in a case pertaining to alleged irregularities in allocation of Rajhara North coal block in Jharkhand to accused firm Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd (VISUL).
The court also issued notices to Chief Passport Officer of the Ministry of External Affairs and Regional Passport Officer of Ranchi to clarify on the issue. During the hearing, the investigating officer said that Ranchi's RPO has stated that he would return the passport of these six persons only upon receipt of court orders in this regard.
Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar said, "...it has also been observed that passport officer also continues to sit over the matter and does not prefer any action under the Passport Act whether to impound it or to release it and as a routine asked for court orders."
"It simply amounts to passing the buck on the part of the passport officer towards the court instead of performing their own duty under the Passport Act," the court observed and fixed the matter for further hearing on April 30.
Sanction to try two govt servants awaited, says CBI
The CBI on Wednesday told a special court that it is awaiting sanction from the competent authority to prosecute two public servants who have been summoned as accused in a coal blocks allocation scam case. "IO (investigating officer) states that no information has been received from the competent authority regarding according of sanction qua the public servants. Matter be now put up on May 13 for submission of progress report of further investigation," Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar said. CBI had approached concerned authorities for considering granting sanction to prosecute two government servants - then Joint Secretary of Coal Ministry K S Kropha and then Director (Coal Allocation-I section) K C Samaria - for alleged offences punishable under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA).