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SC tells CBI not to close coal scam cases

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) not to close cases in the coal scam and allowed the filing of chargesheets. CBI was also told to follow the decision of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) if there was any doubt.

The Bench, headed by Chief Justice  R M Lodha, proposed the appointment of a special public prosecutor in these cases and asked CBI and petitioner Common Cause to suggest some names on July 18 and one among them will be nominated for the post. CBI also suggested a court for the trial of the coal cases.

The court has before it three status reports in the coal scam investigation. They are from the CBI, the CVC and the Enforcement Directorate. They disclosed that of the 168 allotments of coal blocks under investigation for illegalities, probe into 166 have been completed. There are 14 regular cases, six first information reports and four closures. The judges were in favour of CVC vetting the reports of the investigating agencies when there was difference of opinion on closure.

The court was not satisfied with the slow progress of investigation. It reminded CBI that it had promised to complete the task by December last year. However, it is still asking for extension of time. CBI  counsel Amarendra Saran replied that voluminous evidence have to be examined. He said that more than one lakh pages of documents alone have to be gone through by a small staff.

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