The Division Bench of the Supreme Court on Wednesday informed about Senior Counsel RS Cheema continuing as Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) till June 30, to conduct trials on behalf of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the money laundering case about the alleged irregularities in coal block allocations.
An order passed on Friday by a Division Bench of the Supreme Court, comprising of Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justice Deepak Gupta said, "On our request, RS Cheema, senior counsel/Special Public Prosecutor has agreed to continue as a Special Public Prosecutor to conduct prosecution of the money laundering cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 about the coal block allocation matters till June 30, 2020. List this application in the first week of May 2020."
The Supreme Court Bench had earlier sought names of senior advocates for appointment as Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) and junior lawyers for assistance to conduct trials on behalf of ED in the money laundering case about the alleged irregularities in coal block allocations.
The Top Court's order came on the plea of senior advocate RS Cheema. Cheema was appointed as SPP by the Supreme Court in 2014, in the coal scam cases. Cheema had stated that he would like to continue as CBI's SPP in the coal scam cases but wanted to be relieved from the responsibility of representing ED in money laundering cases. Explaining his reason for seeking relief in ED money laundering cases, the senior advocate had cited the shortage of law officers assisting him as a reason.
Before the Division Bench's order, the Apex Court had decided to appoint lawyer DP Singh as the SPP for the Enforcement Directorate, but the appointment was halted after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta sought time from the court to discuss the appointment of SPP with senior lawyer Cheema. Solicitor General Mehta had earlier suggested senior advocate Maninder Singh replace as SPP.
The Supreme Court had earlier asked the CBI and ED to inform the court about the status of investigation and trial in the coal block allocation scam cases.
(With inputs from ANI)