The CBI was pulled up on Monday by the Supreme Court for delay in proceedings against an IAS officer and other accused in the National Rural Health Mission scam involving siphoning of public fund worth several hundred crore rupees.
The apex court expressed surprise that CBI has been waiting for sanction from the Uttar Pradesh government for prosecuting its officials, including IAS officer Pradeep Shukla, in the scam despite its order that sanction would be deemed to have been granted if the competent authority refuse to decide it within three months.
“The CBI takes so much time. What would happen to other organisations?,” the bench of justices D K Jain and Madan B Lokur remarked.
“We are sorry. You are begging to the state government which is not taking action despite being reminded by you to decide it expeditiously,” the bench said.
The court, however, refrained from passing any order after Additional Solicitor General Siddharth Luthra pleaded for more time.
It was hearing the agency plea against an Allahabad High Court order to treat Shukla’s petition as a PIL and monitor the investigation in the scam.
Shukla had pleaded with the high court to quash the FIRs registered against him as, he claimed, the CBI had not taken proper sanction for his prosecution from the Department of Personnel and Training.
The high court, unhappy with delay in probe against Shukla and in grant of sanction for his prosecution, had decided to treat his plea as a PIL.
“We have taken a decision to henceforth treat this petition as a Public Interest Litigation and to call for reports periodically for monitoring the progress of the preliminary inquiries, investigations, grant of sanctions and other consequential matters for ensuring there are no further unacceptable delays at different stages,” the high court had said.
The apex court, on September 26, had stayed the high court order.