The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) if it had undertaken investigation into the alleged diversion of coal from captive coal blocks allotted to Reliance Energy owned 4,000 MW Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP). The apex court also directed the investigative agency to complete is probe into the alleged scam by March 31.
A special bench headed by justice Madan B Lokur called for the response after counsel for NGO Common Cause, Prashant Bhushan, raised the query during the hearing of PILs seeking CBI inquiry into the coal block allocation scam.
In response to Bhushan’s concern, CBI counsel A Sharan said though the agency was probing the matter but he was unsure whether the Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project too was under its scrutiny.
“Check-up and inform us on next date. You tell us next week and then we will take it up the week after that,” the court told Sharan, adding “So far you have not given us any report on diversion” of coal from captive mines allocated to UMPP.” The court said it would take up the matter on March 16.
Bhushan told the court that CAG has found that this diversion of coal has caused a loss of Rs 29,000 crore. As he said the government’s decision to permit the diversion of coal was arbitrary, unjustified and caused loss to public exchequer, the court wondered if the probe into the diversion of coal from captive coal blocks was part of SC’s August 25, 2014 order when it cancelled the coal blocks.
Sharan said if Bhushan’s plea was accepted, it would amount to expanding the scope of the investigation. But Bhushan pointed to a specific case where cash and diary was recovered by the CBI. He said the diary contained names of the people to whom payments were made.