CBI to file inquiry into coal block allocations since 93

Written by Rajat Arora | New Delhi | Updated: Sep 26 2012, 05:43am hrs
With the widened ambit of its investigation into the coal block allocation scam, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is likely to register a preliminary inquiry into the coal block allocations made between 1993 and 2009.

The CBI, in a day or two, will also ask the coal ministry for all documents related to the allocations since 1993, when the policy of allocation of captive coal blocks to private firms started.

The CBI will be probing allocations of 195 coal blocks allocated during the period. The agency is already probing irregularities in allocation of 64 coal blocks to 142 companies between 2006 and 2009. There could be a fresh preliminary enquiry into the coal block allocation since 1993 or it could be added to the ongoing preliminary enquiry in the allocation 64 coal blocks, a CBI officer said.

According to coal ministry officials, only eight blocks were allocated to private players during the regimes of PV Narasimha Rao, HD Deve Gowda and IK Gujral and around 40 blocks during six-year NDA rule. The rest were allocated during the period of UPA 1 and II governments.

The companies which were allocated coal blocks during NDA's regime between 1998 and 2004 include prominent names such as Jindal Steel and Power, Monnet Ispat and energy, Usha Martin and Jayaswal Neco. Companies such as Jindal steel and Jayaswal Neco are already under scanner as they were again allocated coal blocks between 2006 and 2009 for their other projects.

The Coal Ministry will provide all relevant data and list of officials and ministers involved. There's a possibility that former ministers of coal during NDA and United front governments be questioned by the CBI, a source said.

Meanwhile, the CBI on Tuesday denied any possibility of calling Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) Pradeep Kumar for questioning.