The Supreme Court on Monday sought responses from the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate as to whether it should investigate alleged diversion of coal from captive coal blocks allotted to Reliance ADAG’s Sasan ultra mega power project (UMPP) in Madhya Pradesh, and also probe the Aditya Birla Group’s alleged hawala transactions that cropped up during coal scam investigations.
A special bench headed by Justices Madan B Lokur, which is monitoring the probe in the coal allocation scam, issued notice to the CBI and ED on both issues.
Citing the SC’s September 24 judgment cancelling allocation of 214 blocks since 1993, counsel Prashant Bhushan, appearing for NGO Common Cause, argued that the national auditor had estimated that loss from diversion of coal from captive coal blocks allotted to Sasan UMPP alone stood at Rs 29,000 crore.
Even the SC in its September 24 judgment had held that diversion of coal from captive mines allotted to power projects was illegal and had banned further diversion, he said, adding that captive coal blocks were allotted to Reliance Power’s UMPP to help it sell power generated by it at a cheaper price to the grid. The Sasan UMPP was allotted Moher and Moher Amroli Extension coal blocks.
Stating that the coal block, meant for the Sasan UMPP, was used for other purposes, Bhushan said the question is why the CBI has not registered an FIR when the SC dealing with the controversial tape involving former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia and others had also directed the agency to probe the allotment of coal block for the Sasan UMPP.
The NGO also cited media reports which claimed that search operations conducted on October 15, 2013, by the CBI at Aditya Birla Group’s corporate office in the Capital allegedly led to recovery of unaccounted cash worth Rs 25 crore and incriminating documents. “As per newspaper reports, the documents allegedly reveal massive bribery of politicians and officials by the Aditya Birla group,” the NGO’s application stated.