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|November 18, 1998||
CBI inaction in Panna oilfield case 'shocks' Delhi HC; orders issued to hand over papers
Delhi high court today severely pulled up the Central Bureau of Investigation for not providing certain reports and papers to Additional Solicitor General C S Vaidyanathan in connection with the controversial multi-million rupee Panna-Mukta oilfield contract case.
The Panna-Mukta oilfield contract was granted to the Reliance-Enron consortium after taking it away from the Oil and Natural Gas Commission, under the privatisation policy during the tenure of former petroleum minister Satish Sharma.
The court questioned the Central government whether the then government had examined the comparative economics before privatising the oilfields.
A division bench comprising acting chief justice Y K Sabharwal and Justice K S Gupta was informed by Vaidyanathan that the CBI, which was in possession of all the files related to the case, had turned down his request for providing copies of the reports submitted to the court time to time or even allowing him to inspect it.
''I was neither allowed to have the reports nor was permitted to inspect the file,'' Vaidyanathan said.
The ASG submitted that because of this reason he had to depend on affidavits filed by the government and the CBI to prepare the matter and it would not be possible for him to assist the court any further.
The judges asked the agency to explain why it had not parted with the files to the ASG and observed: ''We are shocked at the attitude of the CBI'' in not handing over the reports and papers to a senior government officer who was assisting the court.
They directed the country's prime investigating agency to hand over the papers to Vaidyanathan today itself and adjourned the case till tomorrow for further arguments.
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