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Hearing on ‘interference’ by Sinha in Coalgate probe starts

Hearing on ‘interference’ by Sinha in Coalgate probe starts
The apex court said it would hear the matter in detail and pass any order only after giving a full hearing.

The plea of the NGO, Common Cause, was opposed by the CBI and Sinha, who alleged that “insinuation” was being made on the basis of documents including internal offical notes which according to the apex court’s May 8, 2013 order cannot be shared. CBI also said it has to be found out as to how the documents had come into the hands of others.

The NGO’s counsel Prashant Bhushan said the court could ask the Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) for the coal scam cases to examine relevant documents, as was done in the 2G spectrum scam cases in which Sinha was asked to keep himself away after the SPP in telecom case termed his action as

However, CBI’s senior advocate Amarender Sharan defended Sinha saying the entire effort was to derail the investigation and the scope of the coal scam matter should not be widened.

Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for Sinha, contended that the NGO was citing documents and other internal notings which were neither given to the accused nor to the trial court. These were “freely floating” despite the apex court order barring sharing of any documents, he contended.

“If we prima facie find something, we will give it to the SPP,” a bench comprising Justices M B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and A K Sikri said, while making it clear that “whatever is on record, we have to give a full length hearing”.

After two-hours of hearing the bench posted the matter for hearing on March 16 and said it would take up on March 9 the issues relating to the progress made in the investigation of the coal block allocation scam cases.

The bench said there was a need to examine what has been done since July 2014, when it had perused the last report into the investigation of the scam. The apex court during the last hearing on January 12 had said “we have to take a call. Either, we have to agree with you (CBI) or with him (NGO’s counsel making allegations).”

The bench will also hear the application filed by Sinha accusing the NGO and its counsel Prashant Bhushan of perjury. Bhushan claimed the entries in the visitors’ register of the former CBI Director made it clear that he was meeting the high-profile accused and those associated with coal block allocation like Vijay Darda, his son Devendra Darda and former Union Minister Subodh Kant Sahay and said there was a need for court-monitored SIT investigation to ascertain “whether any consideration exchanged hands”.

“If there is so much of evidence on record that this gentleman (Sinha) at so many times had meetings with accused and tried to change the course of probe and maneouvre the situation for closing cases, then this court has to find out how this gentleman goes on meeting dozens of time and maneouvres the investigation,” Bhushan submitted while reading out his note in which he narrated the alleged events emerging from the entry register of Sinha’s residence.
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