SC seeks status report from CBI on 'coalgate' probe

The Supreme Court today asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to file an affidavit on the status of its investigation into the 'coalgate' scam, relating to allegedly irregular allotment of coal blocks to private companies.

The order came in relation to a public interest petition by eminent people under the banner of Common Cause seeking the cancellation of leases of coal blocks issued to selected corporations, citing the report of the Comptroller & Auditor General of India which suggested that the public exchequer had lost well over Rs1 lakh crore in the coal mine allotments.

Counsel for CBI Hiren Raval told the bench headed by Justice R M Lodha that the probe was ''comprehensive and broad-based'' and nothing will be kept back from the court. He wanted the CBI to be excused from court monitoring.

The judges said that ''it is not the first time the court has asked for status reports from CBI on its investigation, nor will be the last time.''

The PIL counsel Prashant Bhushan, on the other hand, wanted the court to monitor the investigation and said if the court was not satisfied, a special investigation team (SIT) should be set up to go into the ''serious'' allegations.

The scam broke into the open nearly eight months ago, and the CBI has nothing to show in its investigations, he argued.