In an embarrassment to the CBI, a Delhi court on Friday said the agency was not maintaining secrecy in the investigation of the coal scam, despite the Supreme Court's direction, and the information was being shared by the agency officials with outsiders.
The court said, "sufficient food for thought for appropriate remedial measures has been provided to the Central Bureau of Investigation, lest a mockery is made of the criminal justice administration system."
Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar made the observations in an order convicting ex-coal secretary H C Gupta in a corruption case relating to allotment of coal blocks in West Bengal during the previous UPA government.
The judge said, "It is clear that CBI is even not paying any heed to the specific directions passed by Supreme Court in all such matters much less keeping intact the very sanctity of the investigation being carried out by it in various coal block allocation matters."
The court noted the apex court's direction to the agency to ensure the secrecy of investigations into allocation of coal blocks and "no access of any nature whatsoever in this regard is provided to any person or authority, including any minister of the central cabinet, law officers, CBI advocate, director of the prosecution and central government officials."
The court said the "opinion expressed by various CBI officers or the result being drawn by an agency during the investigation of other coal block allocation matters, in which no final report has yet been filed before this court, is being shared by them with persons outside the agency".
The judge made the observations while taking note of the submissions by public servants that the CBI concealed several vital information from the court.
"In fact the aforesaid averments in the written submissions filed by counsel Rahul Tyagi for accused public servants tend to throw light as to the conduct of probe agency in investigation of various coal block allocation matters and especially to the circumstances in which closure reports are being filed in a number of coal block allocation matters including the present matter," it observed.
Tyagi had pointed out that a few prosecution witnesses in the present case were under CBI scanner in different coal scam cases, however, the CBI did not share that information with the court, "which would certainly have a bearing on their credibility and the undue influence CBI has over them as suspects and accused in other cases."
Five others, including one retired and another serving public servant -- K S Kropha and KC Samria --, were also held guilty in the case for various offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act and Indian Penal Code.
All the convicted persons were taken into the custody on the order of the court and were sent to judicial custody till December 3 when the court will hear the arguments on sentence which entails maximum punishment of seven years in jail.
The case pertains to alleged irregularities in allocation of Moira and Madhujore (North and South) coal blocks in West Bengal to Vikash Metals and Power Limited (VMPL). An FIR was lodged by the CBI in September 2012.
(With inputs from agencies.)