The Supreme Court on Friday appointed additional sessions judge Bharat Parashar to preside over the special CBI court set up exclusively for holding day-to-day trial in cases related to the coal block allocation scam. It also named Chandigarh-based senior advocate RS Cheema as Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) in the scam.
A bench headed by Chief Justice RM Lodha directed competent authorities to come out with notifications within two weeks on appointment of the Special Public Prosecutor and the special judge to exclusively try the cases pertaining to coal block allocation registered under the Indian Penal Code, Prevention of Corruption Act, Prevention of Money Laundering Act and other allied offences.
It also restrained other courts in the country except itself from entertaining any matter in this regard and transferred all cases pending before different courts to the special court.
It said Cheema will have access to all material and documents relating to investigations for his opinion and assistance to the special court in view of the high magnitude and compass of the case and he will be free to have his own team of lawyers to assist him.
Cheema emerged as the unanimous choice over other suggested names of advocates after the bench was informed that senior advocate and former Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium had declined to take over the job of SPP for conducting the prosecution in the matter.
The court also allowed the Income Tax Department to inspect documents seized by
the Central Bureau of Investigation from the premises of Hindalco for carrying out any bonafide investigation under the tax law.
The department had sought permission to allow one of its officers to go through the documents collected by the Central Bureau of Investigation while raiding the premises of Hindalco across the country, in which unaccounted cash of around R25 crore was recovered.
The investigation agency has initiated around 16
regular cases on coal block allocations, including those against then MP Naveen
Jindal and former minister of state for coal Dasari Narayan Rao in relation to coal block allocation and against KM Birla and former coal secretary PC Parakh for alleged illegality in grant of blocks to Hindalco Industries.