The Hon’ble SC on 25th March 2021, Thursday approved and granted interim protection from arrest to the prime accused in the West Bengal coal scam probe, Anup Majee, conditional on him joining in the investigation before the CBI and cooperating in the same.
The Hon’ble SC bench further clarified that the interim protection order in the present case is been passed without expression of any opinion on the merits of the contending contentions, only as a pro-tem measure given the upcoming Holi holiday. “The order so passed by the Hon’ble court will not be a limitation on the investigation in the time being”, added the Hon’ble SC bench.
Subsequently, the Hon’ble SC bench added that at this stage, since the Hon’ble Court would not be able to conclude arguments before the succeeding Holi Holiday, ad-interim protection is necessary to safeguard the right of the petitioner until the proceedings are heard by the Hon’ble SC Bench in the present matter. Thereafter the Hon’ble bench also specified that the accused shall not be arrested until 6th April 2021 and all the constitutional rights and contentions of the parties are reserved open to be considered when the proceedings are taken up on 6 April 2021.
In the background, the Hon’ble SC on Wednesday began the hearing on the challenge to the order of the Hon’ble Calcutta HC whereby it allowed the CBI to investigate a case connected to illegal mining and transportation of coal through Railways in West Bengal, without the State’s consent.
The Hon’ble Single Judge Bench of the Calcutta HC had ruled that the investigation outside the Railway areas in the State of West Bengal, shall be conducted by the CBI only subject to specific consent being granted by appropriate authorities of the State of West Bengal.
In an appeal preferred by CBI, the Hon’ble Division Bench of the HC stayed the order passed by Hon’ble single Judge and permitted CBI to the examination in the present case without any interference.
Needful to note that the present case is filed before the Hon’ble SC of India and relates to illegal mining and transportation of coal through Railways in connivance with officers of the Eastern Coalfield Limited, Railways, C.I.S.F. and some other private persons including the writ petitioner (Anup Majee).
The present writ petition duly filed by the petitioner under article 136 of the Indian Constitution against both the order of the Hon’ble single judge as well as that of the Hon’ble division bench in the appeal.
The SLP against the Hon’ble single judge’s order has been filed by the petitioner on the assumption that the appeal before the Hon’ble division bench was not justifiable and so the order of the Hon’ble single judge is agreeable to challenge in the Hon’ble SC.
Furthermore, a question as regards the jurisdiction of the CBI to examine the present case within the territory of the state of West Bengal has been raised.