The court also rapped the Central investigation Bureau (CBI) for sluggish probe in the sacm that took place during the UPA government’s tenure and has many high-profile names involved in it. The apex court has now directed the CBI to complete the probe expeditiously.
The ‘Coalgate’ as it is popularly known is a major political scandal concerning the Indian government’s allocation of the nation’s coal deposits to public sector entities (PSEs) and private companies.
Attorney general Mukul Rohatgi on Tuesday told the apex court that the panel headed by former CBI special director M L Sharma has held that Sinha’a meetings with some of the high- profile accused in the scam prima facie indicated that there was an attempt to influence the investigation.
Rohatgi, who had only received an initial report of the panel on the condition of confidentiality, has said that after going through the reports he had no reason to doubt the authenticity of the visitors’ diary at Sinha’s residence. He said, “Unless there is evidence in court of law which says that the visitor’s register is genuine, we may not be able to proceed in the matter.”
Appearing for Sinha, the senior advocate Vikas Singh said that the allegations based on the visitors’ diary were dubious and not reliable as the ex-CBI chief was not even present in the national capital on those days. “There is not a single case where I (Sinha) have taken a decision contrary to the investigating officers in closing coal cases,” Singh said.
Rapping the agency for slow progress, the court said, “We have been telling you (CBI) time and again to complete the investigation. Every time you say we will do it within one month. Last time you had said that you will do it by June 30. But still you have not done it. Please do it expeditiously,” the bench said.
During the hearing, advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for NGO ‘Common Cause’, said that as per the panel Ranjit Sinha’s visitors diary has been found to be genuine and it is clear that he met many coal scam accused which influenced his decisions.