CBI begins probe in coal blocks allocations since 1993
New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Thursday filed a preliminary enquiry into the allocation of coal blocks since 1993, officials said.
"The preliminary enquiry is against unknown public servants and certain private firms," said sources in the agency.
The agency, which is already probing coal blocks allocation during the period 2006-2009, registered the new preliminary enquiry on Central Vigilance Commission's (CVC) reference to check alleged irregularities in allotment of coal blocks from 1993 to 2004.
According to the sources, the agency will now study each and every allotment since 1993 and question the directors of companies and the then bureaucrats of central and state governments about the coal blocks.
As part of their investigation, the CBI will seek a list of relevant data and list of officials and ministers, involved in the process of coal allocation at all levels, from the coal ministry.
The CVC had on Monday asked the CBI to probe all coal block allocations since 1993.
The CBI was also asked to find out the system put in place for selection of companies for coal block allocation between 1993 to 2004, whether these guidelines were followed and how joint venture partners were selected.
The country's top anti-corruption authority had earlier this year, tasked the CBI with probe into the allotment of coal blocks made between 2006 and 2009.
A preliminary enquiry to examine the irregularities, if any, in the allocation of coal blocks by coal ministry during 2006-09 was initiated on a reference from the CVC in June.
The official auditor, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had, in a recent report, estimated undue benefits of Rs.1.86 lakh crore to private firms due to allocation of coal blocks without auction.
The CBI had earlier this month registered two batches of FIRs (first information reports) against seven private companies, their directors and some public administrative officials and is understood to be filing a third batch of FIRs soon.
In its first batch of FIRs, the CBI registered five cases against five companies and their directors, including some public administrative officials, and conducted searches at 30 locations on Sep 4.
In the second phase, the agency booked two private companies, Vikash Metals and Powers Limited and Grace Industries, and their directors in two separate cases on Sep 22 and raided offices of the firms in seven cities.