Illegal coal blocks will be cancelled: SC
New Delhi, March 12 : The Supreme Court Tuesday said the allocation of coal blocks prima facie 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 court also directed the CBI not to share information of its probe into the scam with the "political executive" (central government). 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.
"If even among them (applicants for the coal blocks) ... they (government) have not followed any guidelines or procedures and a,b,c was allocated and d,e,f, was excluded then the whole allocation has to go," the apex court bench headed by Justice R.M. Lodha said.
The court 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 Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will look into the criminality, if any, 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.
The court directed the CBI director that the agency will not share information of its probe into the scam with the political executive (central government).
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 statement by the attorney general assumes significance in the back-drop of the apex court cancelling 122 2G licences thereby jolting the telecom sector.