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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

Wary govt denies advice to CBI in corruption case

Nagendar Sharma, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 18, 2013
First Published: 23:44 IST(18/5/2013) | Last Updated: 02:12 IST(19/5/2013)

A senior law officer has declined to advise the CBI on whether it should proceed in a graft case allegedly involving a former top technocrat, within days of the government having been pulled by the Supreme Court for its interference in cases being probed by the agency.

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Government’s second highest ranking law officer, Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran, has refrained from giving his comments to the CBI on whether it should convert its preliminary enquiry against former Director General of Hydrocarbons VK Sibal into a full-fledged criminal case, HT has learnt.

Sibal is under the CBI scanner for having allegedly misused his official position of the apex regulator of oil and gas industry between 2004 and 2009, to give undue favours to a private company for exploration of gas blocks in Andhra Pradesh.

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The CBI had sought an opinion from the government’s legal team after its top officials were divided on whether Sibal and others, who were named in its preliminary investigation, could be booked under the provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act and related sections of the Indian Penal Code.

Parasaran, told the CBI that it should first “complete the entire investigation” and then take a call on how it wants to proceed in the matter. His note of caution follows the Supreme Court’s rap on the knuckles for the government in the coal blocks allocation scam probe.

The top court with no uncertain terms made it clear to the government that it should not have interfered in the ongoing CBI probe into the scam. The solicitor general has referred to the apex court’s observations and written order in the matter and reminded the investigating agency that his opinion at this juncture could be misunderstood as interference.

A CBI joint director and the chief of its legal team, the director of prosecution, had recommended the registration of a criminal case against Sibal, his subordinates and officials of a private company.


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