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13 crucial files on coal block allocations missing, search on

Aug 19 2013, 09:37 IST
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SummaryCoal ministry appeals to steel, power ministries for help in retrieving them.

private companies who applied for the blocks but were not allocated any block.

This is bound to compound problems for the ministry as applications for 45 blocks pertain to the era before advertisements were put out inviting applications for blocks and there were not cut off dates for the same.

Further, for the 157 applications, the ministry has asked Coal India and CMPDI to trace these applications on a war footing, the source said.

The ministry is learnt to be scrambling to provide the minutes of the meetings of an inter-ministerial group (IMG) pertaining to allocation of blocks for the coal-to-liquid programme to CBI. Unable to trace the documents, it has written to the Planning Commission and the ministries, who were members of the IMG to forward copies of the minutes.

The ministry, however, has shot down a suggestion to obtain the records from the applicants themselves saying it would not be proper to do so.

Sequence of events

August 17 2012: CAG report on coal blocks is tabled in the Parliament which said private firms got 105 blocks between 1993 and 2009 and are likely to gain Rs 1.86 lakh crore from coal blocks allocated nomination basis instead of competitive bidding.The report triggered a political furore.

June 2012: The Central Vigilance Commission asks CBI to inquire into the coal block allocation process between 2006-09. CBI files Preliminary Enquiry .

September 2012: Expanding the scope of the investigation, the CBI widens probe into alleged irregularities in allocation of coal blocks between 1993 and 2004. The agency has filed 13 FIRs so far including against a former minister of state for coal.

May 8, 2013: The Supreme Court raps the government for vetting the draft reports and asks for measures to insulate the CBI from “external influence and intrusion”.

May 10, 2013: Ashwani Kumar resigns as law minister amid allegation that his ministry had vetted a draft status report of the CBI on the ongoing inquiry.

July 11, 2013: Supreme Court asks the Union government to produce all the records pertaining to allotment of 178 blocks.

mid-July: The coal ministry writes to the CBI saying it has shared over 762 files as needed by it and would continue to share more as and when required.

August 17: Coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal concedes that some files are indeed missing from his ministry’s domain and other ministries like steel and power have been asked to help.

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