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The special investigation team (SIT), set up to probe the allegations of abuse of authority prima facie committed by former CBI Director Ranjit Sinha to scuttle the coal scam probe, was today directed by the Supreme Court to submit a status report before it. The apex court asked the SIT to furnish the status report in a sealed cover within four weeks with regard to the probe conducted in the matter. "A status report with regard to investigation conducted by the SIT with respect to Ranjit Sinha, former Director of CBI, be filed in a sealed cover," a three-judge bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur said. The bench, also comprising Justices Kurian Joseph and A K Sikri, said this after advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for NGO Common Cause, argued that several months have gone by since the SIT was formed and it should be asked to submit a report on its investigation. The top court had on January 23 constituted the SIT headed by the CBI director to look into the prima facie allegations against the former CBI chief of trying to influence the probe in coal scam cases. During the hearing today, senior advocate R S Cheema, who has been appointed as special public prosecutor in coal scam cases by the apex court, told the bench that eight CBI cases relating to the scam were pending consideration before the "highest authority" of the agency. To this, Bhushan said, "why should these cases be kept pending before the highest authority? These are politically sensitive cases". The bench, however, directed the CBI Director to finalise these eight pending cases on or before January 15, 2018. Cheema argued that CBI had requested the West Bengal government to give some documents pertaining to the coal block allocations in the state but the documents have not yet been handed over to the agency. The bench issued notice to the state government directing it to inform the court why the records have not been given to the CBI. Besides these issues, the top court also dealt with the pleas filed by others in the case. The court was earlier told that a panel headed by former CBI special director M L Sharma had held that Ranjit Sinha's alleged meetings with some high-profile accused in coal scam prima facie indicated that there was an attempt to influence the investigation. The apex court-appointed panel was probing the alleged scuttling of the probe into coal block allocation scam cases by Sinha, whose meetings with the accused persons were held as "completely inappropriate". On December 7, 2015, the court had ordered handing over the original visitors' diary of the official residence of the former CBI director to the Sharma-led panel.
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