Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar said the agency may approach the sanctioning authority with all the records of the case so that the question of whether to give approval to prosecute the government servants could be considered by them. The special judge, in his order, said that the court can certainly direct that CBI may place before the sanctioning authority all relevant records seeking sanction to prosecute the public servants and the authority may take an appropriate decision as per the discretion vested in it.
"Accordingly, the matter is referred for further investigation under section 173(8) CrPC to CBI with direction that during the course of further investigation, the CBI may place before the sanctioning authority the records of the present case beside the order dated October 13 and the present order to consider the question of according sanction to prosecute the public servants involved for the offenses which prima facie have been committed by them," the judge said.
The court also asked CBI to file a progress report of its further investigation on December 15 and said the agency should be at a liberty to probe any other aspect of the matter if found necessary by them.
The order came on CBI's petition seeking summoning of two serving senior public servants on alleged corruption charges in a coal blocks allocation case against Madhya Pradesh-based Kamal Sponge Steel and Power Ltd (KSSPL) and others.
CBI had said that Coal Ministry's then Joint Secretary, K S Kropha, and then Director (Coal Allocation-I section), K C Samaria, were already summoned as accused for offenses under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant) and 420 (cheating) under the IPC and these two should also be summoned for the offenses punishable under the Prevention of Corruption (POC) Act.
The court, in its order passed on October 13, had summoned six accused including Gupta, Samaria, Kropha and KSSPL after refusing to accept the CBI's closure report.
"Thus, if the court is held to be powerless to direct the sanctioning authority to consider the question of grant or refusal of sanction to prosecute a public servant ... then the entire purpose of exercising any discretion except to accept the closure report will be a completely futile exercise," the court noted.
It also observed that the court had earlier found itself "handicapped" in taking cognizance for the offenses under the POC Act against the two serving public servants due to want of sanction under section 19 of the POC Act.
It said that section 19 of POC Act, dealing with sanction to prosecute any government servant, certainly bars the court from taking cognizance of various offenses under the Act.
The court said that in its October 13 order, it had already opined that prima facie offense under the provisions of POC Act have been committed by the public servants involved in the case.
"In other words, if this court has no such power (to direct probe agency to approach the sanctioning authority) then the fait-accompli of the matter will be to blindly accept the closure report filed by the investigating agency wherein the conclusion arrived at is dehors of any legally admissible reasons or logic," it said.
"Moreover, the aforesaid question also gains material importance as in a number of such cases like coal block allocation matters, the investigating agency ie. the CBI has chosen to file closure reports opining that no offense was found to have been committed by any of the public servants
involved in the entire coal block allocation process," it noted.
Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar said the agency may approach the sanctioning authority with all the records of the case so that the question of whether to give approval to prosecute the government servants could be considered by them.
The special judge, in his order, said that the court can certainly direct that CBI may place before the sanctioning authority all relevant records seeking sanction to prosecute the public servants and the authority may take an appropriate decision as per the discretion vested in it.