The two cases filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation on allocation of coal blocks are the first set based on a preliminary enquiry into alleged irregularities in allocations between 1993 and 2005.
Since September 2012, the CBI has registered 14 other cases pertaining to allocations made between 2006 and 2009.
According to the CBI, the first case has been registered against Mumbai-based BLA Industries owned by Anup Agarwalla, son of the former Rajya Sabha MP, P.K. Agarwalla, who has also been named as an accused.
The agency officials said the company applied for blocks at Narsinghpur in Madhya Pradesh and was allocated two blocks in 1996 for captive mining for a proposed power plant.
“The recommendation for allocation of coal blocks was made at the 10th Screening Committee. Interestingly, the company initially did not set up the power plant and in 2003-04 [during the National Democratic Alliance regime at the Centre], it also obtained approval for sale of coal in the open market,” said a CBI official.
The official said that according to a rough estimate, a company could make about Rs.100 crore per annum from sale of coal.
“However, investigations are under way to ascertain whether the accused company made any such profit and whether, such an approval for sale in open market could be given,” said the official, adding that the company later set up a unit at Narsinghpur but it was not a full-fledged power plant.
In the second case, the CBI has accused Kolkata-based Castron Technologies of having obtained a Brahmadih coal block in Jharkhand in 1999, during the NDA regime.
The company director has also been named in the FIR that alleges that the firm obtained the coal block in conspiracy with some public servants, who overlooked the fact that it had not followed the prevailing norms which mandated identification of a specific purpose/project for allocation of coal blocks.
“The company later split into two, the other named as Castron Mining. The coal block was accordingly transferred to Castron Mining,” said the official.
Following registration of the cases, the agency conducted searches at nine locations in Delhi, Dhanbad in Jharkhand, Narsinghpur, Bhopal, Mumbai and Kolkata.
Keywords: coal blocks allocation scam