The apex court has ordered the concerned authority to provide "full cooperation" to the agency and "all files sought by it must be supplied without any delay."

Even as the Centre strongly defended its powers of granting sanction to the CBI for investigation and prosecution of high-ranking public servants, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the government to cooperate with the agency in its probe in the ‘coal-case’.

A Bench of Justices R.M. Lodha, Madan B. Lokur and Kurian Joseph, after hearing Attorney General (AG) G.E. Vahanvati for the Centre, senior counsel Amarendra Saran for the CBI, counsel Prashant Bhushan and advocate Manohar Lal Sharma, directed the Centre to provide all the necessary files necessary for the probe to the CBI and to extend full cooperation.

The Bench said, “All files sought by CBI must to be supplied at the earliest without any delay.” It asked the CBI to file a status report, as on August 25, by August 27. The AG justified the Centre’s power of sanction under Section 6A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act. He said that before the officer concerned was to be probed, the CBI should make an application to the court seeking a response from the government. He said giving a go-bye to Section 6A of the DSPE Act would deprive persons concerned the right to be heard.

Mr. Vahanvati maintained that the primary concern was insulation of the CBI from external influence and there must be a proper investigation without any impediment. Nothing should be done to throttle the investigation. He said, “This can be achieved by other means.”

Justice Lodha asked, “Why should the government be allowed to be involved when there is a question mark on the government itself? If you demolish the first step, how will you move to the second step? Where is the requirement for sanction to proceed with the inquiry in a court-monitored investigation? Why do you insist that there should be sanction as required under Section 6A of the Act?” The AG said the validity of Section 6A was pending adjudication before a Constitution Bench. Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for NGO Common Cause, pointed out that in the 2G case the CBI had submitted that there was no need for permission under Section 6A the DSPE Act to investigate senior officers in court-monitored cases. The Bench directed the matter to be listed for further hearing on August 29.

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