Chhattisgarh PDS scam: Approach HC, SC tells petitioners

New Delhi, Aug 12 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked petitioners seeking a court-monitored CBI probe into the public distribution system (PDS) scam in Chhattisgarh to approach the high court as it was in a better position to address the issue.

A bench of Justice T.S. Thakur, Justice V. Gopala Gowda and Justice R. Banumathi said “the high court will be in a better position to examine the matter and record the findings”.

“If you have any difficulty, you can always come to us. It will not be right (for the apex court) to listen to everything, grab and not let the high court function,” the bench told the petitioners.

At the outset of the hearing, when Justice Thakur asked counsel Kapil Sibal, appearing for one of the petitioners, to go to the Chhattisgarh High Court, he replied: “In this case, top authorities are involved. You name them, they are there.”

Telling the court “Why I said what I had said”, Sibal added that even the head of the Anti-Corruption Bureau has said in a video that some dimensions of the PDS scam reaches a place which they cannot investigate.

When high dignitaries are involved, what investigation will take place, Sibal asked, and quoted the ACB chief as saying: “There are certain people we can’t reach.”

The counsel said investigators have got a diary that contains all the names.

As Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Chhattisgarh, sought to dispute what was being attributed to the Chhattisgarh ACB chief, Sibal took out a mobile phone, urging the apex court to listen to the video recording of what the ACB chief said.

Sibal said the state corporation was purchasing paddy from farmers and giving it to rice mills, and they in turn were returning third rate rice which beneficiaries under PDS were refusing to take.

The court witnessed some frayed tampers as the attorney general said the entire matter was “politically motivated”, while Sibal retaliated saying “politically motivated at your end”.

As one of the lawyers told the court that in the FIR, 26 people were named but it came down to 16 in the charge sheet, Rohatgi said: “Go back to the special judge and tell him that these are the people.”

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