New Delhi, Aug. 29: The Supreme Court today told the CBI and the Centre that an FIR must be registered if files relating to controversial coal-block allotments between 1993 and 2010 were not traced within 26 days.
The court, which termed the files’ unavailability “a criminality”, did not order immediate FIR registration as attorney-general G.E. Vahanvati and solicitor-general Mohan Parasaran pledged a clarification on the files’ availability within four weeks. But it pruned the deadline by two days.
The files are expected to throw light on allegations that murky deals were struck with private firms during coal-block allocations by the NDA and UPA governments. The Centre has admitted that seven of 43 files sought by the CBI are not available with it but said efforts are on to trace them.
CBI sources, on the condition of anonymity, and the BJP have alleged that the files were made to disappear to derail the probe and shield politicians and bureaucrats.
The bench of Justices R.M. Lodha, Madan B. Lokur and Kurien Joseph refused to buy Vahanvati’s argument that some of the files were not traceable.
“They must be available. When you say the files are missing have you filed any FIR?... The truth has to come out,” Justice Lodha said.