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Why PM, coal minister not being probed in Coalgate: Petitioner

The name of Prime Minister and coal minister was raked up in the Supreme Court on Thursday by one of the petitioners – advocate M L Sharma – in the hearing of coal block allocation case.

Sharma raised a question before the bench comprising of Justice RM Lodha, Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Kurian Joseph that why the prime minister and coal minister are not being probed in the coal block allocation case. Prime Minister was handling the coal portfolio between 2006 to 2009.

Sharma said that CBI has so far registered 15 FIRs but name of the coal ministers are not there. He said that how can an inquiry not be done against coal ministers but only against coal allottees. He further said that if the names of the coal ministers are not there in the FIRs, the probe would become infructuous.

The court, however, said that the probe is still going on and the inquiry is at the preliminary stage. The bench said that inquiry is not circumscribed by any constraint and the inquiry is to cover the entire ambit.

The bench told Sharma that the matter listed for hearing is issue of sanction to probe against government officials.

On the issue of sanction, the central government and CBI differed. While CBI maintained that there was no need for sanction in a court-monitored probe, the stand of the government was that section 6A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act dealing with the issue of approval or sanction to investigate government officers of the rank of joint secretary and above has to be complied with until it is struck down by the court.

The hearing in the case would continue on 10 September, the date on which the court will also consider submission of CBI, which told the court that it needs more persons for carrying out the inquiry and investigation into coal blocks allocation scam.

The coal block allocation scam is being investigated by a 33-member team and as per order of the Supreme Court, the agency has to take the permission from the apex court, which is monitoring the probe, for making any change in the team involved in the inquiry and investigation into the coal block allocation scam.
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