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Scorpene probe: HC pulls up CBI
December 17, 2007 20:38 IST
The CBI was in the dock when the Delhi High Court on Monday questioned the kind of probe done by the investigating agency for ascertaining whether any kickbacks were paid in the multi-crore Scorpene Submarine deal and ordered it to submit a complete report.
"We would like to cross-check your investigation officer to know what has been done on the complaint alleging kickbacks in the Scorpene deal. We feel dissatisfied with what you have done so far. If you have tried to shield someone, then we would come down very heavily on you," the court said.
"Let the record come to your rescue," a Bench comprising Justices T S Thakur and Veena Birbal said while directing the CBI to submit the report of the Investigating officer in the open court on December 19.
The CBI, despite repeated questions from the court on what steps it has taken, failed to convince the court that nothing was found in the preliminary inquiry done by it.
"Get the report of the Investigating Officer in the open court. We would like to see what has been done so far and if no inquiry has been conducted then it means that there has been a deliberate attempt to protect someone," the court said.
The CBI, which filed a status report in the court on the investigations carried out so far, found no takers in the Bench, which observed that, "This is nothing. It has no value at all."
Commenting on the status report which claimed there was no credible evidence of kickbacks against anyone and that the probe was still open, the court asked, "Is it a report prepared by an officer in the office and is it in the spirit of conducting the inquiry."
The court, while passing these strictures, said it was not a small case where Rs 500 had been swindled but related to allegations of crores of rupees changing hands.
"It is not right to give it a silent burial," the court said. Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subranamaniam, who appeared for CBI, tried to impress the court by saying the government had approached the European-based Thales company to verify whether any kickbacks had been paid in the Scorpene deal. The company, however, outrightly denied the allegation.
The statement of the ASG led to a hilarious observation by the court which said, "Did you expect Thales to say yes and you cannot cite that for giving it clean chit. How can you expect affirmative response from a wrong party. If the answer was affirmative, it would have led to cancellation of the deal."