The Central Bureau of Investigation has accused the 35th Screening Committee of deliberately not following the set guidelines while recommending allocation of a coal block to Prakash Industries.

The agency on Thursday registered a case against Delhi-based Prakash Industries, its promoters/directors and then members of the Screening Committee. The FIR alleges that the company made false representation of its net worth in the application to meet the criteria for allocation of coal blocks.

The 35th Screening Committee recommended allotment of the Fatehpur coal block in Chhattisgarh to the company. In its FIR registered under the relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act, the agency alleges that the Screening Committee deliberately did not follow the guidelines and showed undue favour to the company.

“We have so registered 18 cases in connection with the coal block allocations. In several cases, the role of public servants involved in the process of allocations is being examined. We have also apprised the court that a probe against them is under way,” a senior CBI official said.

In another case, the CBI has named Nagpur-based Central Collieries and unknown public servants, accusing them of forgery, criminal breach of trust and sale of coal in the open market as against the policy of captive allocation of coal blocks for a specified end-use product.

CBI investigations revealed that the Central Collieries was not even registered when it had applied for the allocation. The company was allocated the Takli-Jena-Bellora block at Chandrapur in Maharashtra in 1998 for captive use of the coal in their proposed power plant.

“Though the policy of the government was that the coal blocks would be allocated for captive use only, the mining lease deed executed by the company with the Maharashtra Government did not incorporate the condition of captive consumption. The mine plan was forged and it facilitated the non-captive use of coal. The mining started since 2000 without setting up of the proposed power plant and the coal extracted from the block was sold in the market, leading to alleged misappropriation of over Rs.10 crore,” the official added.

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