Court pulls up CBI for dilatory approach in coal block case

New Delhi: A special court hearing a coal block allocation case Monday pulled up Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for its “lackadaisical approach” in the probe and said it “can not simply sit over the matter so as to unnecessarily delay the further investigation”.

“It has been clarified that the investigating agency upon passing of such orders has only two options viz. either to challenge the orders before the appellate court, if so advised, or to comply with the orders. The agency however can not simply sit over the matter so as to unnecessarily delay the further investigation,” said special judge Bharat Parashar.

The court’s remark came after investigating officer of the case allegedly involving Kamal Sponge Steel and Power Ltd. and others stated that pursuant to the orders passed by this court for further investigation, steps are being taken for necessary compliance.

However upon enquiry regarding the case diary by the court, he replied that he has not brought it.

The court then pulled him and said that it has been pointed out to him that about 45 days have lapsed since the time the orders for further investigation were passed by this court.

The court was hearing a case in which it had earlier summoned former coal secretary H.C. Gupta, then joint secretary K.S. Kropha, the then director (coal allocation-I section) K.C. Samaria and two officials of Madhya Pradesh-based company Kamal Sponge Steel and Power Ltd (KSSPL) as accused after refusing to accept the CBI’s closure report.

Besides Gupta, Kropha and Samaria, the court had summoned KSSPL’s managing director Pawan Kumar Ahluwalia and chartered accountant Amit Goyal as accused in the case. These five accused were granted bail by the court on Oct 31.

The court fixed Dec 22 for further hearing in the matter.

The CBI has lodged a first information report accusing the company and others of allegedly misrepresenting facts, including inflated net worth, to acquire coal blocks.

After the probe, the CBI filed a closure report, saying it has not found sufficient evidence against the firm and its director to proceed with the case.

The court Oct 13 found sufficient evidence to proceed against the accused under sections dealing with criminal conspiracy, cheating and criminal breach of trust. It also found evidence against Gupta to proceed with provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

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