UP foodgrain scam: Apex court seeks CBI’s response (Lead)

March 14th, 2012 - 10:53 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 14 (IANS) The Supreme Court Wednesday asked the Uttar Pradesh government and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to respond to a plea seeking lifting of curbs on a corruption case related to alleged diversion of foodgrain.

The petition sought a vacation of partial stay imposed by the court in 2011 on an order by the Allahabad High Court on the alleged scam involving Rs.2 lakh crore and revolving around diversion of foodgrain from the state to other countries.

Petitioner Vishwanath Chaturvedi in his application said that besides a large number of government and non-government entities, the scam involved leaders of the Congress and the Samajwadi Party.

The application said that compulsion of the coalition politics was preventing the prime minister from taking “harsh corrective measures against corruption”.

Unless, like in the 2G case, there was monitoring of the investigations either by the apex court or the high court, the influential people suspected to be involved in corruption would find avenues to escape the law, the petition said.

An apex court bench of Justice A.K. Patnaik and Justice Swatanter Kumar asked the state government and the investigating agency to respond to Chaturvedi’s plea seeking vacation on the partial stay of the order of the Lucknow bench of the high court.

The high court by its order of Dec 3, 2010, had directed the CBI to proceed with further inquiry not only with regard to illegal diversion of foodgrain outside the state or smuggling to other countries from Ballia, Lakhimpur and Sitapur, but also with regards to diversion from Varanasi, Gonda and Lucknow districts.

The high court said that it was not necessary for the CBI to obtain sanction for proceedings against the officials involved in the diversion of the foodgrain.

It said that in cases where the CBI applied for sanction, it would be incumbent upon the chief secretary of the state to grant this within three months, failing which, it would be deemed to have been granted.

The investigating agency was directed to file status report on its probe every three months.

The apex court April 18, 2011 stayed a part of the high court order.

The Supreme Court put restrictions on the high court’s observation that it was not necessary for the CBI to obtain a sanction to prosecute the guilty.

The apex court also stayed the high court’s order that required the chief secretary to accord sanction to prosecute the guilty within three months.

The apex court modified the high court order and said that the CBI would file the status report on its investigations every six months.

Chaturvedi said that till date the investigating agency had filed report in respect of only former minister Om Prakash Gupta.

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