The CBI and the Centre appeared heading for a confrontation in the coalgate case with the agency today asserting in the Supreme Court that no prior sanction is required to prosecute bureaucrats in the scam, a stand contrary to that of Government.
In a six-page affidavit, the CBI contended that no sanction or approval of the government is required in court monitored cases and referred to the apex court's judgement in 2G scam in which time period for government was stipulated in granting sanction in other cases.
"There is no requirement of sanction for prosecution in cases where court has either directed investigation or is monitoring investigation of the case.
"The consistent pronouncements of this court on Section 6A of the DSPE (Delhi Special Police Establishment) Act and Section 19 of the PC (Prevention of Corruption) Act clearly show that requirement of sanction for prosecution is not mandatory when the same is done pursuant to court direction or where cases are monitored by the Court," the agency said.
The Centre, however, had earlier taken a contrary stand before the apex court by saying that even in a court-monitored probe, prior sanction is required to investigate government officials in a corruption case.
Countering the stand of the Centre, the CBI in its affidavit submitted that making prior sanction mandatory would amount to suspension of court's power to monitor investigation.
"It is submitted that in case if it is held that even in the investigation which are monitored by court, requirement of sanction under Section 6 A is mandatory, then it would amount to suspension of the power of the court to monitor investigation," the affidavit said.
Buttressing its stand on the issue of sanction, the agency referred to a Constitution bench judgement holding that "Constitutional court are empowered to direct investigation by the CBI and in such cases no sanction is necessary".
The CBI said one of the objectives behind the concept of prior sanction was to protect bureaucrats from the "threat" and "ignominy" of "malicious and vexatious enquiries" which is not a possibility in a court-monitored probe.
"In court-monitored cases, the courts act as a guardian/ custodian of the rights of the citizens... and in the cases where investigation is monitored by the courts, the objective of protection under Section 6A of the Act is already achieved and therefore no prior sanction or approval of government is necessary in such cases," the agency said.
The CBI also submitted "any other interpretation of the Section 6 A would render the same as ultra-vires as being violative of Article 21 and would defeat the purpose for which the said Section was incorporated."
The agency, in another application, has sought a direction from the apex court that it be permitted to disclose and discuss the facts of the coalgate cases with its in-house and special lawyers.
It said the names of the prosecutors and special lawyers would be submitted to the court on August 29 in a sealed envelope.
The bench, on May 8, asked CBI to ensure secrecy and had said that probe details be not shared with "any person or authority, including any minister ...law officers, advocates of CBI...".
Seeking a modification in the order, CBI said for filing the charge sheets in the cases, "an examination regarding admissibility of and sufficiency of evidence collected during the course of investigation is required to be carried out. For finalising the proper final reports, facts of the cases are required to be discussed and vetted through the advocates and prosecutors."