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Coal block scam: Supreme Court reserves order on appointing SPP

The bench was hearing the petitions filed by Manohar Lal Sharma and NGO Common Cause, challenging the licences granted to the PSUs and the private companies for 216 coal blocks.

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ILNS: The Supreme Court on Monday reserved its order on the appointment of the Special Public Prosecutor in cases before the Enforcement Directorate in the pleas challenging the allotment of 216 coal blocks in seven states to Public Sector Units and companies.

The bench of Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice V. Ramasubramanian said that Maninder Singh has resigned from the post of Additional Solicitor General, whereas D.P. Singh has been appearing in several matters, including the AgustaWestland deal and the Rs 9,000-crore bank loan fraud involving businessman Vijay Mallya.

The bench was hearing the petitions filed by Manohar Lal Sharma and NGO Common Cause, challenging the licences granted to the PSUs and the private companies for 216 coal blocks.

In 2014, Senior Advocate R.S. Cheema was appointed SPP in the matters concerned, whereas now, he has requested to be relieved from the appointment, referring to a shortage of assistants and his age.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, submitted, “We suggest Senior Advocate Maninder Singh and Advocate Rajesh Batra.”

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On Chief Justice S.A. Bobde’ inquiry, Senior Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, submitted, “The SPP should be independent of Centre and in such matters, the Court should not be swayed by the names proposed by the Centre.”

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