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The Supreme Court left it to the new CBI director to decide whether or not to probe an allegation that coal from a captive block allocated to Reliance Powerowned Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project was diverted for commercial purposes.
Rejecting a demand from activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan to order a probe into a Comptroller and Auditor General finding that the exchequer had lost Rs 29,000 crore in potential revenue due to the diversion, a bench led by justice Madan B Lokur said: “Let the new CBI director decide.”
Reliance Power had refuted the findings in the CAG report. On Monday, the bench, however, issued notices on another plea by Bhushan, seeking cancellation of the allocation of a block to NTPC. The state owned power producer had been spared earlier, Bhushan argued, because it claimed that there was no joint venture with any private company for the block.
It has subsequently come to light that there was such a joint venture, he argued. The other two judges on the bench were justices Kurian Joseph and AK Sikri.
The bench refused to make any changes to an earlier order directing the CBI chief to probe charges of misuse of office by the agency’s former director, Ranjit Sinha, in the coal scam case. Sinha’s lawyer, Vikas Singh, wanted the court to treat him on par with the politicians who escaped investigations in the case, arguing that the material cited to hold him prima facie guilty was just some entries made in a diary.
He then urged the court to direct the CBI director to hold only an inquiry and not an investigation. That was also refused. Singh said he would file an application seeking recall of that order.
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