New Delhi: A ministerial panel on Tuesday reviewed the progress of mines allotted to companies against whom FIRs have been registered by CBI in the case of alleged irregularities in coal block allocation.
The development follows the panel asking the Coal Ministry to seek the opinion of the Law Ministry with regard to six mines which were alloted to firms like ArcelorMittal, Sterlite Energy and Reliance Energy. These companies are named in FIRs.
"The panel (the Inter-ministerial group on coal blocks) today reviewed the coal blocks under CBI scanner. However, no decision was taken and IMG will meet again and make suitable recommendations," a source close to the development said.
The six blocks include Rampia & Dip Side of Rampia mine, jointly alloted to Sterlite Energy, GMR Energy, ArcelorMittal, Lanco Group, Navbharat Power and Reliance Energy, Thesgora-B/Rudrapuri mine alloted to Kamal Sponge Steel & Power and Revati Cement and Bander mine alloted to AMR Iron & Steels, Century Textiles & Industries and J K Cement.
"In cases of...Six blocks, where an FIR has been registered by CBI against the allocatee or one of the allocatees of the coal block, IMG...Remitted the matters back to the Coal Ministry to take a view in the matter in consultation with Law Ministry," according to the minutes of the IMG meeting.
The CBI is probing alleged irregularities in allocation of 192 coal blocks between 1993 and 2011.
CBI has lodged FIRs against Jindal Steel & Power Ltd and Gagan Sponge which were allocated Amarkonda Morgadungal coal blocks in Jharkhand, JAS Infrastructure Capital Pvt Ltd (Mahuagarhi mine in Jharkhand) and Navbharat Power Pvt Ltd (Rampia and Dip side of Rampia mine in Odisha) among others.
Replying to a question in Lok Sabha today, Minister of State for Coal Pratik Prakashbapu Patil said that CBI has registered 13 FIRs in respect of 13 coal blocks. Of these 13 coal blocks--Lohara (East) and North Dhadu--have already been deallocated on account of unsatisfactory progress.
He said that the opinion of Law Ministry has been sought on the issue of action to be taken against the remaining allocatees mentioned in the FIRs.
"However, the IMG set up to review the performance of the coal blocks have been asked to review these cases and make suitable recommendations based on which action will be taken by the government," he said.
The agency has registered three preliminary inquiries, which are related to allocations between 2006 and 2009, blocks awarded between 1993 and 2004, and allotments to joint ventures.
The government had formed the IMG last year to review the progress of coal blocks allocated to firms for captive use and recommend action, including deallocation.