SC ‘unhappy’ over CBI delay in investigation of coal cases

New Delhi, Dec 14 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Monday expressed its “unhappiness” over the “prolonged delay” in the investigation of coal scam related case by the Central Bureau of Investigation, saying that it could not be an unending affair.

“Something has to be done. It can’t go on like this,” said a bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice A.K.Sikri reminding the investigating agency that it was supposed to wrap up all the investigations by December 31, 2014 and now the end of 2015 was coming.

Noting that a “considerable time has already been taken”, the court recorded it “unhappiness” over the “prolonged delay” and asked CBI to complete the investigation as early as possible.

The court observation came as the investigating agency sought the court’s nod for relieving one of its senior officers who is supervising investigations into coal scam related cases upon his “prestigious” appointment to the National Defence College.

Telling senior counsel Amarendra Sharan that it would not come in the way of professional achievements of the officers, the court however said that such movement of officers from the investigating agency delays the investigation.

“It (investigation) will get delayed,” the court said as Sharan tried to impress upon the court that movement of the senior ranking officer out of the agency for another posting may not affect the pace of investigations.

“It can’t go on like this. We are very clear about it. You have to be clear as well”, the court told the CBI as Sharan said that they have time till March 31, 2016 to complete the investigations and the investigation was not in the old cases but in 15 new cases that were taken up later.

As Sharan said that the investigation into the cases was “very fast”, the court asked if the investigating agency would be able to complete the investigations by March 31.

The bench was also not pleased that the Directorate of Enforcement has passed provisional orders for the attachments of properties worth Rs.186 crore, Rs.24.5 crore and Rs.2 crore but no complaint has been filed so far in two cases where in the investigating agency in its progress report till September 11 had said that it would be filing “complaint shortly”.

In the third case where provisional attachment order is for the sum of more than Rs.2 crore, there was no mention if the ED intended to file the complaint.

Sharan told the court that in the first two cases, the complaints was with the special public prosecutor R.S. Cheema who is heading the prosecution of the coal scam cases by the CBI.

Seeking fresh status report till December 31 by January 5, the court detracted the next hearing of the matter on January 11.

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