What's the hurry in filing closure report against Birla: Court to CBI

Birla case: Court questions CBI
New Delhi, Sep 12: A special court on Friday asked the CBI as to what was the "hurry" in filing a closure report in the coal blocks allocation case in which it had earlier lodged an FIR against top industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla and others.

"What was the hurry to close this case?" special CBI judge Bharat Parashar asked the agency's investigating officer (IO).

During the hearing, the investigating officer told the court that original minutes of the screening committee meeting, in which Birla-owned Hindalco's application seeking coal blocks allocation was dealt with, were "missing".

To this, the court asked the investigating officer to show if there was any statement which says that the original minutes of the meeting of the screening committee were missing.

"No such statement of anyone is there that the original minutes are missing," the judge said.

As the investigating officer was unable to give explanation to the queries of the court, the judge directed him to call his supervisory officer in the court.

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The court also pulled up the CBI for not bringing the case diary.

"On what basis you (CBI) have drawn such conclusion (to close the case)? What kind of investigation you have done? What was the supervisory officer doing? Bring the police file and call your supervisory officer in the court now," the judge told the investigating officer.

During the arguments, the court also hauled up the CBI for "dumping" illegible documents before it, saying that some of the papers filed along with the final reports were blank.

"They (CBI) are dumping illegible documents in the court like anything....I am not able to read the documents," the judge said.

The court had earlier asked the CBI to clarify whether "rule of law" was followed in allocation of coal blocks to Birla's Hindalco.

The court was hearing the closure report filed by the CBI in its FIR lodged against Birla, former coal secretary P C Parakh and others.

The court had earlier asked the agency, "You (CBI) have to clarify three things. First, whether the rule of law was followed or not. Second is whether there was an act of omission or commission in it and the last one is whether the act of omission or commission, if any, has an element of criminality?"

The CBI had on August 28 filed the closure report in the case in which it had earlier lodged an FIR against Birla, Parakh and others in one of the coal blocks allocation scam cases.

The FIR against Birla, Parakh and others was registered in October last year by the CBI which had alleged that Parakh had reversed his decision to reject coal block allocation to Hindalco within months "without any valid basis or change in circumstances" and shown "undue favours".

The FIR related to allocation of Talabira II and III coal blocks in 2005 and the CBI had booked Birla, Parakh and other officials of Hindalco under various IPC sections, including criminal conspiracy and criminal misconduct on the part of government officials.

During the investigation, the CBI, however, had found that there was no "quid pro quo" on the part of Parakh and there was no wrongdoing in allocation of coal blocks to Hindalco.


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