Court slams CBI for improper probe in coal block case

New Delhi : A court here Tuesday pulled up the CBI for not probing “crucial aspects” regarding the alleged roles of government officials in allocating coal blocks to a Hyderabad-based company, which was charge sheeted in the case.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Gaurav Rao directed the investigating officer (IO) of the case to conclude the probe and file a “detailed report” by next date of hearing which he listed as Aug 30.

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The court was hearing a case against the Hyderabad-based private company Navbharat Power and its managing director and vice chairman Harishchandra Prasad and its vhairman P Trivikrama Prasad in the alleged wrongful allocation of coal blocks.

Navbharat Power and its directors were charge sheeted in the case March 10 by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) under various offence dealing with dealing with cheating and criminal conspiracy.

Observing that the probe in the case was still pending, the court said: “Accordingly, in view of my above observations, the IO of the case is directed to expedite the investigation as taking cognisance/summoning of the accused persons at this stage when the investigation is still pending on material aspects will be nothing short of mockery.”

“Piecemeal cognisance cannot be taken more so when crucial aspect of the investigation still remains and important chain/ link of the conspiracy remains to be unearthed,” it added.

The court also pulled up the IO saying either he was “deliberately hesitant” to probe the case in terms of Central Vigilance Commission’s (CVC) reference or he was “unaware of basic aspects of investigation despite immense experience and expertise at his disposal which he ought to have on account of his tenure in the service”.

The court observed that it was not inclined to summon the accused in the case.

The CBI has alleged in its FIR that to “embellish its claim for allocation of coal blocks”, Navabharat Power Pvt. Ltd. had “fraudulently” claimed it had the required net worth to get the coalmines.

The agency has added that its inquiry also revealed that officials of the coal ministry in pursuance of criminal conspiracy, wilfully and purposefully, did not scrutinise the documents regarding the false claims/concealment of facts by the company.