The court in fact, asked the CBI director to file affidavit giving assurance that coal block allocation probe report will not be shared with "political executive". This is a clear indication that the government was trying to interfere and playing mischief with the evidence and the course of investigation into the case involving over Rs 1.80 lakh crore loss.
Prima facie, the apex court said the allocation of coal blocks seemed to be arbitrary and the procedure adopted by the government does not appear to be legal. It warned of cancelling the blocks if procedures were not followed.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has estimated a loss of Rs.1.86 lakh crore to the exchequer in the controversial allocation of coal blocks by the government.
The apex court bench headed by Justice RM Lodha said that if it was found that the government has not followed any procedure in the allocation of the blocks, then all the allocations of the blocks will "go".
"The procedure the government is talking about prima facie does not seem to be proper and legal," said Justice Lodha.
The apex court said it will first examine the legality of the allocation of coal blocks and then the CBI will look into the criminality in the allocation of the blocks.
The court said this in the course of the hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) by advocate Manohar Lal Sharma and NGO Common Cause, seeking cancellation of all the coal blocks which have been negatively commented upon by CAG.
Defending the allocation of the coal blocks and holding them legal, Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati said all norms were followed in the allocation of the coal blocks and the government does not want any large-scale cancellation.
The attorney general may have been hinting at the apex court's cancellation of 122 2G licences that led to re-auction of spectrum and shakeup in the telecom sector.