M A I N   N E W S

SC cancels ‘tainted’ NDA-given oil outlets
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, January 12
The Supreme Court today cancelled all allotments of oil outlets made during the NDA regime in violation of rules and procedures, but permitted some borderline cases after an inquiry committee of two retired judges had scrutinised 409 questionable allotments.

Maximum of nine borderline cases of allotment of petrol pumps, gas agencies and kerosene outlets were permitted by the court in Punjab apart from seven found legal out of total 37 recommended by the NDA government. Overall 20 cases were rejected.

Similarly, in Haryana and Himachal Pradesh only seven and five allotments, respectively, were found to be as per rules and the rest were rejected by a Bench of outgoing Chief Justice Y.K. Sabharwal, Mr Justice C.K. Thakker and Mr Justice R.V. Raveendran. In the two states the total allotments were 21 and 16, respectively.

In Punjab, the nine borderline cases which got approval included those of Surinder Singh, Chander Kant Bhatia, Gurpreet Singh, Manta Rani, Suman Singh, Ruby Sekhri, Manmohan Singh, Rajesh Madan and Tejinder Singh.

The inquiry committee had ordered cancellation of 297 “tainted” allotments allegedly made to various persons closely related or associated with political parties, including the BJP and the Congress.

After the reports of large-scale illegal allotments were published in media in August 2002, the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had ordered cancellation of nearly 3,000 outlets approved after January 2000. This had let to a spate of litigations across the country and the apex court had transferred all cases to it and ordered the probe.

It had also stayed the government order for cancelling allotment across the board and directed the committee to cull out tainted allotments out of the genuine ones.

Though the court in today’s order decided the fate of 167 cases of allotments in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu of which 117 were with rejected.

Regarding the remaining cases, the Bench directed that they be placed before the new Chief Justice for listing before another Bench to be decided as per the recommendations of the committee and guidelines laid down in today’s order.

The inquiry committee was of the view that in 297 allotments, the selection of candidates could not be said to have been made on merits as they either did not fulfill the eligibility criteria or had incurred disqualification on account of suppression or concealment of material information relating to their eligibility.

It also found that “extraneous considerations weighed with the selection board in granting such allotments.”



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |