Expanding the ambit of judicial scrutiny of the alleged irregularities, the apex court also issued notice to the CBI on a plea for appointment of a SIT and the cancellation of allocation of 194 coal blocks to various companies
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on a plea for a probe by a special investigation team (SIT) into the alleged irregularities in the coal block allocations, reports PTI.
A bench of justices RM Lodha and AR Dave also sought response from them on a public interest litigation (PIL) petition seeking cancellation of the licenses granted by the government for coal blocks to various private companies.
The bench, however, refused to stay the licenses, which were allegedly granted in violation the of law.
The court asked the government and the agency to file its comprehensive reply on the alleged irregularities in the coal block allocation within eight weeks and posted the matter for further hearing on 24th January.
The bench was hearing a PIL filed by various members of civil society including former CEC N Gopalaswami, ex-Navy chief L Ramdas and former Cabinet Secretary TSR Subramanian, seeking a SIT probe into the alleged scam.
They have alleged the ongoing CBI investigation into the alleged coal block scam is not sufficient and only SIT can conduct an impartial probe in the case, in which names of many ministers and their kith and kin have cropped up.
The alleged coal block allocation scam came under judicial scrutiny on 14th September when the apex court, on a PIL by advocate ML Sharma, had directed the Centre to explain if the guidelines on allotting natural resources to private companies were being strictly followed.
Expanding the ambit of judicial scrutiny of the alleged irregularities, the bench today also issued notice to the CBI on a plea for appointment of a SIT and the cancellation of allocation of 194 coal blocks to various companies.
In the fresh PIL filed by members of civil society and NGO Common Cause, the petitioners sought quashing of the entire allocation of coal blocks to private companies, made by the Centre from 1993 onwards.
"The involvement of senior ministers, public servants, different departments of Centre and state governments concerned in the alleged corruption and bribery by beneficiary companies need to be investigated.
"Considering the magnitude of investigation and possibility of involvement of high public offices, including the PMO, and the fact that CBI functions under the same very government it is supposed to investigate, a court-monitored investigation by an SIT is required to ensure proper investigation in the matter," the petition said.
The petitioners alleged that allotment of coal blocks was non-transparent and conducted in an unfair manner in violation of various rules and procedures.
"That investigation of CBI at the instance of CVC is partial and does not cover the full magnitude of the coal scam. The alleged conspiracy in blocking the policy of competitive bidding and the manner in which the screening committee functioned need to be investigated thoroughly, which involves senior ministers including the highest executive office of the country," the petition said.
SEBI will not get power to directly tap the phone calls, however, it would get call data records through agencies, says the Finance Minister
New Delhi: The government is making an arrangement for market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) getting access to call data records of people being probed by it in specific cases, but it will not get power to directly tap the phone calls, Finance Minister P Chidambaram has said, reports PTI.
"... Some arrangement is being made that the call data records will be supplied through the agencies entitled to get them to SEBI," Chidambaram told PTI in an interview.
"They (SEBI) won't have the power to directly tap into the phone calls. Records can be made available to them by the authorities concerned. Some progress is being made," he said.
He was replying to queries about SEBI seeking access to call data records of people being investigated by it in cases related to the stock markets.
Asked about intelligence reports of some terror groups pumping in money in the stock market, Chidambaram said he was sure that SEBI would look into the matter if tainted money was flowing into the stock market.
Observing that the matter falls into the jurisdiction of the Home Ministry, Chidambaram said: "I can't conduct an enquiry into terror groups putting money into the stock market. If tainted money is flowing into the stock market, I'm sure SEBI will look into it. Intelligence reports are shared with SEBI also. I've no machinery to look into it, except SEBI."
On SEBI's demand for access to call data records, Chidambaram said: "I think some progress was made to make available to SEBI the call data records in specific cases, where an investigation is being done and they want call data records (for their investigation), I think some progress is being made, some arrangement is being made..."
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