The Central Bureau of Investigation will investigate all the 195 captive coal mines allocated since 1993. Currently, the agency’s probe was limited to 64 blocks given to private companies.

This means allocations made during the BJP-led NDA Government would also come under the scanner.

“We have no objection to the CBI holding a probe into coal allocations since 1993,” said BJP Member of Parliament Prakash Javadekar. The BJP has been maintaining that no company was favoured during the NDA regime between 1998 and 2004.

The CBI’s current investigation of 64 blocks is based on Javadekar and his colleague Hansraj Ahir’s complaint to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC). The CBI will now widen the probe to all coal blocks, as the CVC has again written to the agency to take up the investigation for all allocations.

“The CBI has received the CVC communication asking to look into allocation of coal blocks post 1993, and we will start the preliminary investigations,” a CBI spokesperson told Business Line. The CVC’s move is based on a request by seven Congress MPs — Sandeep Dixit, Harish Chaudhary, Rauneet Singh, Ch Lal Singh, Raghuvir Singh Meena, Ijyaraj Singh and Manick Tagore. On September 5, they wrote to Pradip Kumar, Chief Vigilance Commissioner, wanting all coal blocks allotted since 1993 investigated by the CBI, especially at the way the State governments selected private companies whose names they forwarded to the Centre.

They sent a similar request to the Coal Ministry as well. Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal forwarded the request to the CVC on September 19.

Interestingly, the Congress MPs said the investigation should focus on ‘what systems the Government put in place for selection of companies for coal block allocations between 1993 and 2004.’ This was the time the NDA Government was in power.

The CBI has so far registered seven FIRs accusing private companies of misrepresentations and false claims while applying for coal blocks. Some of these firms have also been accused of selling their stakes after allocation of a block.

Of the 195 coal blocks, 24 were de-allocated earlier. Recently, another 13 blocks were de-allocated post the Inter Ministerial Group recommendations.

siddhartha.s@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on September 24, 2012)
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