New Delhi: A special court today directed CBI to return the materials seized during its probe into a coal blocks allocation scam case which were not relied upon by the agency, to the accused. The court’s order came on a plea filed by accused company Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Limited (VISUL) and former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda’s alleged close aide Vijay Joshi seeking directions to the CBI to produce certain documents which were seized by the agency during search operations. “In these circumstances, it is thus directed that all the material/documents recovered and seized during the course of search operation carried out at the office and residential premises of accused no.1 (VISUL) and accused no.8 (Joshi) and which are not being relied upon by the prosecution be returned back to them by the IO (investigating officer),” Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar said.
The company and Joshi, along with Koda and six others, were summoned as accused by the court in the case pertaining to alleged irregularities in allocation of Rajhara North coal block in Jharkhand to VISUL. In their petition, VISUL and Joshi had said that certain documents seized by CBI during its search operations were not filed in the court along with the chargesheet primarily on the grounds that these were not being relied upon. Senior public prosecutor V K Sharma opposed the plea of both the accused contending that it was the sole prerogative of the investigating agency to rely upon any specific document or not.
The court, after hearing the submissions, observed that law regarding search carried out by the IO was well settled. “I may also state that it was the bounden duty of the investigating agency while filing the chargesheet to also intimate that the rest of the material or documents which were seized during the course of search operation carried out at the office and residential premises of accused A1 and A8 are not being relied upon and may be returned back to the concerned accused persons,” the judge said.