After finding no unanimous choice for the appointment prosecutor in the illegal coal block allocation related cases, the Supreme Court on Friday appointed senior advocate RS Cheema as the special public prosecutor in the matter. It also appointed additional sessions judge as special court for the trial of those cases.
A bench headed by Chief Justice RM Lodha directed the Delhi government to issue notifications in this regard. Cheema was appearing for the CBI in the 1984 anti-Sikh riot cases.
The bench passed the order after finding that parties have differences over the names suggested for the prosecutor's job. Senior advocate Gopal Subramanium has already declined the assignment and Dayan Krishnan, who was not formally contacted, has shown his reluctance for the job citing professional commitments.
Appearing for Centre, the Solicitor General on Friday suggested names of Satish Manshinde and Dayan Krishnan but advocate ML Sharma, who is one of the petitioners and appearing in person in the case, has strongly opposed Krishnan's name.
Countering his argument, advocate Prashant Bhushan said Sharma is opposing Krishnan's name because he was the public prosecutor in the December 16, 2012 Delhi gang rape case and Sharma was appearing for one of the accused in that case.
Then, the bench told Sharma, who suggested name of senior advocate Sidharth Luthra "there is conflict of interest in your objection," and asked the lawyers for for more names.
After taking consent of Cheema, the bench finally appointed Cheema's name. It further made clear that "any prayer for stay in progress of investigation can be made only before the Supreme Court."
The bench, also comprising justices Kurian Joseph and Madan B Lokur, directed the trial court to conduct the trial expeditiously.
Meanwhile, the CBI counsel has brought to the court's notice that the CVC has not cited reasons while suggesting for reconsideration over the CBI's decision for closure of 12 cases.
The bench, however, asked them to talk to CVC so that CVC can file a report before it.
During the course of hearing in March, the bench had directed CVC to scrutinise all the PEs after it was told that there were difference of opinion between the IOs and senior officers over the issue of closure of some cases.
So far, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has initiated its preliminary probe into more than 200 cases for illegal allocation of coal blocks.
It has segregated the entire cases into five PEs (Preliminary Enquiriers) out of which the agency has so far registered 22 RCs (FIR) against the companies and unknown government officials for their roles in the illegal allocation of coal blocks.