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HindustanTimes Wed,30 Jul 2014

SC comes down heavily on CBI

Bhadra Sinha, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 09, 2013
First Published: 00:38 IST(9/5/2013) | Last Updated: 01:52 IST(9/5/2013)

CBI director Ranjit Sinha's admission that his officers had regular interactions with officials of coal ministry and Prime Minister's Office, incurred the ire of the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

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"Is the job of the CBI to interact or interrogate? Is this a collaborative action going on?" asked a bench headed by Justice RM Lodha.

The court found it strange that even after receiving documents CBI continued its interaction instead of putting interrogatories. "Clarification cannot be sought by word of mouth," the bench said.

"One year has passed since preliminary inquiry was registered. Nothing substantial has happened except for interaction," it added.

The two officers, Shatrughna Singh and AK Bhalla had sought deletion of CBI's tentative finding that there was no system in place to award weightage points to coal block applicants.

Their suggestion to add a line about non-existence of approved guidelines for allocation of coal blocks too was accepted by the CBI.

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Explaining the interactions between CBI sleuths and bureaucrats, CBI counsel UU Lalit said the meeting was in connection with the 1.5 lakh pages of documents handed over to the agency.

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Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran too said that the meeting was to correct "clerical errors" in the report.

The arguments, however, failed to impress the bench which asked the CBI director to clarify if the two bureaucrats took the status report with them or not.

"They (the joint secretaries) meet the CBI officers on March 6. A day later they come back to the CBI officers and suggest changes. I am sure they don't have such a good memory. The affidavit does not state if they took the draft report with them," said the bench, also comprising Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Joseph Kurien.


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