New Delhi: The government on Friday said in the Rajya Sabha that seven files, 173 applications and nine other documents pertaining to coal block allocations were not traceable and efforts were on to locate them.
Making a statement in Rajya Sabha against the backdrop of persistent attack by the Opposition, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said out of 43 files which were said to be missing, 21 have already been handed over to CBI and 15 are being sent to the investigating agency.
The Coal Ministry has so far given nearly 769 files and documents in original, running into 1,50,000 pages in aggregate to CBI, he said amid din caused by intense slogan shouting by TDP MPs protesting against creation of Telangana.
Jaiswal argued that "it would be wrong to classify any file or document as missing at this stage when an inter-ministerial committee is actively engaged in locating these papers."
Besides, he said, only a handful of files are yet to be located and "if we are unable to locate some papers, government will ensure that due investigations are carried out and guilty brought to book."
He said as investigation progresses, "if additional documents are called for by the CBI and, if any document is not readily available, it shall make every effort to trace and supply them to CBI."
He also said that out of 19 applications sought by CBI, three applications have already been made available and "the remaining 16 applications along with 157 applications...Are being searched."
About the missing documents, the Minister said six have been handed over to CBI, two are available for handing over while nine others are being searched.
The clarifications sought in nine cases would be made available to CBI shortly he said.
The House was to take up a debate on the issue after Jaiswal`s statement, but could not as it was adjourned for the day because of ruckus created by TDP members.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was expected to intervene in the debate, was present in the House.
Yesterday, the government had bowed to opposition demand for ending the stand-off by agreeing to a debate and an intervention by the Prime Minister.
Jaiswal, in his statement, said that in response to the letter of Ministry of Coal requesting CBI to indicate list of specific documents which need to be furnished, "the CBI sent a consolidated list of documents that were yet to be made available to them vide letter dated August 14".
This included 43 files, 19 applications, 157 applications of private companies and 17 documents besides clarifications on 9 points.
He said that for the purpose of tracing the missing records, an inter-ministerial group, headed by Additional Secretary, Coal, was constituted on July 11 and the Committee after examining the issue will "suggest appropriate action to locate the copies of documents".
He said it was "possible that some of these (documents and applications) could be located and handed to CBI in the next few days".
Responding to opposition attack, the minister said, "If we are finally able to locate some papers, the government will ensure that due investigations are carried out and guilty brought to book."
The CBI, after registering the preliminary enquiries requisitioned files/documents/applications/feedback forms/agenda forms etc in original from the Coal Ministry and "it would be wrong to describe all these as files," he added.