The Supreme Court on Tuesday decided to examine why the CBI decided to close its investigation into alleged corruption into disinvestment of the government's share in Hindustan Zinc Ltd during the NDA regime in 2002.
The apex court also declined to let the central government disinvest the remaining shares in the PSU by lifting its restraint order of January 2016.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde asked the agency to put on record the inquiry report of the CBI, in order to ascertain the reasonings behind the decision of closure.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the agency, informed the bench that a preliminary enquiry (PE) was registered by the CBI in November 2013 to look into alleged corrupt practices.
"A final decision has now been taken to close the case since no evidence of criminality was there," Mehta submitted before the bench.
At this, Justice Bobde noted that while the status report is on record before the court, there is no final decision put on the record for the court to examine the reasons behind this decision.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the PIL petitioner in this matter, pointed out that the final decision to close the case has been taken even though several officers of the CBI recommended registration of a regular case for a further inquiry.
The bench then decided to call for the inquiry report so as to determine the reasons why the investigation was decided to be closed.
Meanwhile, the court also turned down a request to modify its order of status quo, passed in January 2016, so as to allow full disinvestment of the PSU.
The bench said it will first go through the CBI's report.
Advocate Bhushan also resisted further disinvestment, claiming there is a report by the Union Law Ministry opposing it.
In 2002, the Centre had decided to divest its controlling shares in Hindustan Zinc Ltd.
The PIL was filed in 2014 by an association of officers related to the PSU firm.
Alleging illegalities in the disinvestment to bestow benefits to a few by undervaluing the shares, the plea asked for a CBI probe into the deal and restraining the government from further divesting its share.