A special court has directed the CBI to respond by September 6 to the objections of Union Ministers Prakash Javadekar and Hansraj Ahir against its move to close a coal scam case.
Special Judge Bharat Parashar allowed the probe agency’s plea seeking time to respond to the ministers’ petition in a case allegedly involving Prakash Industries Ltd (PIL) and others as accused.
HRD Minister Javadekar and Minister of State for Home Ahir, who are complainants in case, had approached the court seeking rejection of the CBI’s closure report and a direction to the agency to further investigate it and file a supplementary charge sheet.
In 2014, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) had started its proceedings on the complaints made by the two ministers.
The case was registered on the basis of CVC’s reference, but after completing the probe, the CBI had filed a closure report in 2014 saying no incriminating evidence had come on record warranting prosecution of any accused.
The BJP leaders had alleged in their petition that the PIL had deliberately misrepresented facts to the 35th Screening Committee with the connivance of others to get the coal block in Chhattisgarh’s Fatehpur allotted to it and the CBI had wrongly accepted the claims made by the accused.
Their petition came in response to the court’s earlier notice asking them whether they wanted to submit anything on the final report in the case.
The court had issued notices to both the ministers after CVC Director Sanjay Agarwal had informed it that the anti- graft watchdog was not a complainant in the matter and had no role to play in the case. It was these two leaders on whose complaint the CVC had started its proceedings, he had said.
The court had said that before accepting CBI’s closure report, it was duty-bound to issue notice to the complainant. It had also directed the CVC to clarify its stand on the report.
According to the CBI’s FIR, the Fatehpur coal block was allocated jointly to PIL and another firm by the 35th Screening Committee.
The FIR was lodged against PIL, its three officials, some officials of the Coal Ministry and others on the charge that the firm had misrepresented its net worth while applying for the block.
The FIR was registered under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with 420 (cheating) of the IPC and under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The CBI had also alleged in its FIR that while the company had misrepresented facts relating to its net worth, the screening committee had deliberately not followed the guidelines and showed undue favour to it.