In a new twist to the coal scam, the Central Bureau of Investigation will start an inquiry into allotment of 195 coal blocks to captive miners including state government entities. The inquiry will cover the period starting 1993.
The Central Vigilance Commission has referred the matter to CBI after a group of seven members of Parliament had written to it seeking inquiry into the allotment process. This means coal block allotments during the rule of National Democratic Alliance at the Centre, besides UPA’s first tenure, will come for scrutiny.
CBI is already conducting investigation into allotment of 67 coal blocks that were referred by CVC earlier. Based on these investigations, CBI has registered seven cases. With more coal blocks coming under scanner, state government entities are also expected to face a probe. Last Saturday, CBI had raided Nagpur-based Grace Industries Limited and Kolkata based Vikash Metals and Power Limited.
Investigators carried out simultaneous raids in 7 cities, including Nagpur, Purulia and Aasansol, and at 13 places. This was the second such raid by the agency which had registered five cases on September 4 against JLD Yavatmal, JAS Infrastructure, AMR Iron and Steel, Vini Iron and Steel and Navbharat Power on charges of misrepresentation of facts and criminal conspiracy. CBI investigations reveal that these companies had not provided complete details before the screening committee to get undue advantage in the allocation of coal blocks. CBI investigators have found in the probe that directors of Grace Industries Limited had made false claims before the screening committee related to net worth of the company and capacity of the end use plant. While Vikash Metals and Power Limited has been also accused of making false claims related to land allocation to get undue advantage in the coal block allocation. Investigators have already questioned Arvind Jayaswal and Manoj Jayaswal, directors of AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Limited, for two consecutive days. Although CBI has not named any government official in the FIRs, senior officials of power ministry, coal ministry and chief secretaries of state governments who were part of the screening committee are also under the scanner for recommending companies for allocation of coal blocks. CBI has alleged of criminal conspiracy between private companies and government officials in the case.