"Dismissed," said a bench of Justice R.M. Lodha, Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Kurian Joseph, brushing aside the public interest litigation (PIL) plea of advocate M.L. Sharma, seeking directions to the prime minister to file the affidavit.
Dismissing the plea, the court said: "We are hearing the matter and you are reaching the conclusion."
Pressing his application, Sharma told the court that the manner in which recommendation letters were issued for the grant of coal blocks even by the central ministers "exposes the scenario in what manner coal blocks were being allocated".
"Recommendations letters had played a role in the allocation of coal blocks," he said.
Sharma had moved the apex court Oct 21 asking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to explain the allocation of 150 coal blocks as he had done while defending the allocation of Talabira-II Coal block in Odisha to Aditya Birla Group's Hindalco.
He Tuesday moved an application, saying, "...for the first time since the coal block allocation scam came up, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has explained about one allocation. But there have been more than 150 coal block allocations, so will he be able to explain all of them".
The court Tuesday asked the government to spell out its view on the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) plea that its director should be vested with the status of being ex-officio secretary to the government so that he could communicate with the minister for personnel directly without wading through the bureaucratic web.
The court also asked the government to pronounce its position on the CBI plea that its director should have the authority to appoint independent senior counsel to represent the agency before the courts.
However, Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran "strongly" opposed the CBI's plea on both the counts. "It goes against administrative spirit. It would send a wrong signal... it involves the checks and balances. CBI has been given a lot of power."
CBI refuted the claims.
"We are not asking for unaccountable power. We are accountable to government. This is to get past some red tape. When a large number of bureaucratic controls will go, it will improve functional efficacy," senior counsel Amarendra Saran, appearing for the CBI, told the court.
"On this, all political parties are in line up," observed Justice Lodha as Saran told the court that all political formations in the country want to control CBI.
In another order, the court asked the CBI to file the next status report on its investigation into the criminality dimension on the allocation of coal blocks upto Dec 31 by Jan 10, 2014 and directed the listing of the matter on Jan 15.
The court allowed the investigating agency's plea to add one more investigating officer in its team probing the coal scam. At present, the investigating team has 39 officers.
The court modified its earlier order and permitted the investigating agency to share its investigation report with its two in-house legal representatives before the status report is submitted to the court.
--IANS (Posted on 29-10-2013)