CBI yet to register inquiry into allocation of coal blocks in 2005

Written by Rajat Arora | New Delhi | Updated: Oct 2 2012, 04:30am hrs
The CBI probe into the coal block allocation scam took a new turn last week as the agency was given the mandate to probe all allocations made since 1993 and also investigate those made to PSUs.

However, surprisingly, the CBI still hasnt registered any inquiry into the coal block allocations made in 2005. In 2005, 18 coal blocks were allocated to 26 companies (including eight PSUs which are now under the CBI scanner).

Currently, the CBI is not looking into the allocations of coal blocks made to private firms through the screening committee in 2005, though it has the mandate to probe all the 195 coal block allocations made between 1993 and 2009, said a source.

Interestingly, out of the 18 private firms that were allocated coal blocks in 2005, four are owned by mining baron Manoj Jayaswal, who has been named an accused in three FIRs out of the seven filed by the CBI till now.

Jayaswal-owned Abhijeet Infrastructure got three separate coal blocks and another group company, Jayaswal Neco, was also alloted one. While Jayaswal was allocated all these coal blocks in Jharkhand within a year for his sponge iron plants, they still remain undeveloped.

Two other big companies allocated coal blocks in the same year were Jindal Steel and Jindal Stainless Steel, which were allocated the Utkal A coal block on a sharing basis in Orissa. Other prominent companies to get coal blocks in 2005 included Hindalco Industries, Usha Martin, Sunflag Iron and Steel and Veerangana Steel, which also got three coalfields in a year in Maharashtra for its sponge iron plants.

The investigation is going to be thorough and the preliminary inquiry, as of now, is based on the reference sent by the Central Vigilance Commission. The mandate is to probe all 195 coal block allocations made since 1993 and that will happen, said a CBI officer.

In the three preliminary inquiries registered till now, the CBI is probing 43 coal block allocations made between 1993 and 2004, 64 allocations between 2006 and 2009 and 99 state and central PSUs that were allocated 72 coal blocks through the government dispensation system, where the PSUs did joint ventures with private companies to develop coal mines. As many as 289 companies, including 99 PSUs, till date, have been allocated 195 coal blocks.