The coal ministry is dithering over sanctioning prosecution of former chairman-cum-managing director of South Eastern Coalfields Limited (SECL) MP Dixit. SECL is a ‘mini ratna’ company of the government.
The CBI had sought permission to prosecute Dixit on November 1 last year.
The probe agency filed chargesheet in the case on December 31, 2011 against nine accused, including Dixit, but without the prosecution sanction, the court has not been able to take cognisance of the chargesheet.
Dixit is an additional secretary rank officer and the probe agency needs prior government sanction to prosecute him.
The CBI had alleged Dixit demanded and agreed to accept Rs1 crore for favouring Vijendra Singh of Bedford Group of companies, which had signed contracts with SECL, Bilaspur. The chargesheet said Singh agreed to pay the amount to the person nominated by Dixit in Delhi. The CBI had put Dixit and another accused under surveillance. On May 25, 2010, a CBI team reached the spot where the alleged bribe money was to change hands. The probe agency recovered Rs 80 lakh from the man who was allegedly nominated to get the money. Dixit was arrested the next day.
“We have records of telephone conversations between the accused, including Dixit, to prove the charge. We have corroborative evidence also. It was a trap case. Though, in case of an officer of the rank of joint secretary or above, the agency requires prior sanction to initiate investigation but in trap cases the law mandates that no such sanction is required,” said an official of the CBI.
According to information available with HT, after receiving CBI’s request for prosecution sanction, the coal ministry referred the matter to the law ministry. The law ministry concluded that in Dixit’s case, the CBI should have sought prior sanction to initiate probe. The law ministry also termed the evidence against Dixit as weak.
“But government norms state that after forming tentative view on the sanction the ministry concerned should seek the Central Vigilance Commission’s advice. In this case the coal ministry hasn’t sought any advice from the CVC, rather it sent the matter to the law ministry,” a source said.
(With inputs from Nagendar Sharma)