Coal scam probe against CBI director Ranjit Sinha slow : Supreme Court

The CBI told the Supreme Court on Monday that it had made “substantial progress” in the probe against its former director Ranjit Singh over allegations of attempting to influence the probe in the coal scam cases, but the bench expressed displeasure on the “slow” pace of the investigation.

“Vehicle numbers of visitors have to be traced. The probe is going on. Bank account details of visitors have to be looked into,” senior advocate R S Cheema, the court-appointed special public prosecutor for the coal scam cases, told the bench of Justices Madan B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and A K Sikri.

The apex court, which is monitoring the probe by the CBI and the ED into the coal scam cases, however, said: “You have given us 11 reports of Enforcement Directorate (ED) and 18 reports of CBI. We must say, the progress in the investigation has been slow. Even today, when we see the 18th report of CBI, it says one case is pending.”

Cheema placed the SIT’s status report on record and said the team was trying to trace the numbers of vehicles which used to come to Sinha’s residence. The CBI said it will examine bank account details of persons who had visited Kumar’s official residence during the relevant period.

The SIT, headed by the CBI director, was constituted by the apex court in January last year to look into the charges against Sinha.

The bench, while perusing the status report, observed: “There are certain inferences that could perhaps be draw. For example, if some person has met Ranjit Sinha or there is an indication of some financial transaction, we may infer that perhaps that might have some implications on the investigation.”

Cheema, however, said that in its probe, the SIT was looking into all the preliminary enquiry reports registered by the CBI in the coal block allocation scam cases. Then he said that “as far as CBI is concerned, we are almost reaching the end”. The bench shot back, saying: “You are right, but you have told us this one year ago also.”

The court will now take up the matter in the second week of March.

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