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Coal block scam allocation case: SC appoints ex-ASG Maninder Singh and lawyer Rajesh Batra as SPP for ED

ANI | Updated: Apr 16, 2021 16:49 IST

New Delhi [India], April 16 (ANI): The Supreme Court, in its order recently, appointed former Additional Solicitor General (ASG) and senior apex court lawyer Maninder Singh and advocate Rajesh Batra as Special Public Prosecutors (SPPs) to argue for the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the coal block allocation scam cases.
A three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde, and also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian passed the order on April 12 which was updated on Friday on the Supreme Court's website.
The top court had passed the order, after the probe agency, came up with the present application seeking appropriate directions for the appointment of a new SPP to conduct prosecution of cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, pertaining to coal block allocation cases.
The Supreme Court said that by an order on July 25, 2014, Rajinder Singh Cheema, senior advocate, was appointed as SPP by this court to conduct the prosecution of the offenses pertaining to coal block allocation, on behalf of the CBI and the ED.
After having served as the SPP creditably, Cheema expressed his desire to be relieved in the case.

Therefore, the directorate came up with the application to seek various reliefs, including that of the appointment of an SPP in the case.
Though there was no consensus on the names of individuals, the counsel appearing on all sides unanimously agreed that this court should appoint a seasoned trial court lawyer of impeccable integrity and a designated senior advocate to guide him and conduct the proceedings, the CJI-led bench said.
"Taking into account the criteria, we hereby appoint Maninder Singh, senior advocate, and former ASG, and Rajesh Batra, advocate as SPPs in the place Cheema," the Supreme Court bench stated in its order.
Cheema may get relieved once the newly appointed prosecutors taking charge, said the top court, which had reserved its order on April 12.
Before reserving its order on the appointment of SPPs, in the coal block scam allocation cases, the CJI led bench heard the arguments from all the respective parties, including the petitioner, respondents, and from the Union of India, and others.
In January 2020, a letter was written by senior advocate, Cheema seeking the apex court's permission to withdraw from the responsibility of SPP in the cases filed by the ED in the cases. The court had asked for a capable alternative for Cheema in the case.
Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta, senior law officer appearing for the Union Government, on Monday had suggested the names of many senior lawyers, including that of Maninder Singh and trial court lawyer Rajesh Batra, for being appointed as the SPPs in the coal block scam allocation cases. (ANI)