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Panel probing ex-CBI chief’s role submits initial report to SC

Panel probing ex-CBI chief’s role submits initial report to SC
The Supreme Court on Wednesday received an initial report of the panel appointed by it to investigate the alleged scuttling of probe into the coal block allocation scam by then Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director Ranjit Sinha, whose meetings with accused persons have been held as “completely inappropriate”.

A Bench headed by Justice MB Lokur declined to make the report public, but handed over a copy to Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi for his perusal on the condition of maintaining its confidentiality.

The copy of the report was given to the Attorney General as the Bench, also comprising Justices Kurian Joseph and AK Sikri, wanted his assistance after the panel headed by former CBI Special Director ML Sharma sought the Apex Court’s direction for the supply of documents relating to preliminary enquiry into some of the matters, in which the probe was closed.

The panel is still continuing with its inquiry into the allegations that Sinha’s meetings with accused and others had led to botching up of investigation in the Coalgate cases.

The Bench said the after the submissions are made on the report by Rohatgi, it would see whether the copy of the report of the panel could be given to other parties or not. “We have to first see the submissions. Then we will decide whether the report can be given to the parties or not,” the Bench said.

Rohatgi opposed giving the report to other parties, saying “PEs (preliminary enquiry) registered by CBI were examined by CVC. There is no point that the report be given to other parties.” 

He said if the report of the panel is not given to him, then he would not be able to assisst the court.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for petitioner NGO Common Cause, said once the probe is over, charge-sheet or closure report has been filed, there is no reason why the report be not given to him. “We have to see whether the report is to be disclosed or not, whether its finding is to be disclosed or not,” the Bench said while posting the matter for further hearing on May 4.

It also allowed the CBI to have a forensic auditor from the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) after the probe agency submitted that it needed the assistance of an expert in investigating the forgery done on documents in the coal scam cases. 

The Bench also took on record the status report filed by the CBI and enforcement directorate on the coal scam cases and said it will consider them on May 4.
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