New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday directed the chief secretary of Gujarat to explain why it hasn’t cooperated with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probing certain coal-block allocations cancelled by the apex court last year. The chief secretary has time till 9 February to explain his state’s position.

The information sought pertains to two deallocated blocks alloted to the Gujarat Mineral Development Corp. (GMDC). While Morga II in Chhattisgarh was originally allotted to GMDC alone, Naini was proposed to be a joint venture between GMDC and Pondicherry Industrial Promotion Development and Investment Corp. Ltd.

The direction was issued after CBI senior counsel Amarendra Sharan informed a bench of justices Madan B. Lokur, A.S. Sikri and Kurian Joseph that despite an earlier SC order directing Gujarat to provide certain documents to the CBI, the state had not responded.

The court was hearing arguments on a petition filed by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) seeking investigation into the alleged abuse of authority by former CBI director Ranjit Sinha during the investigation into coal block allocations. CPIL’s lawyer Prashant Bhushan urged the court to ask the special public prosecutor in the coal block allocation case before the trial court, R.S. Cheema, to look into these allegations and submit a report to the apex court.

Trying to persuade the court to issue notice in his perjury application against Bhushan, Sinha’s lawyer Vikas Singh argued that there was a “blatant twisting of facts". The court will hear the perjury application along with CPIL’s plea for a probe into Sinha’s conduct in the next hearing on 16 February.

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