CBI is seeking from the Coal Ministry 257 files related to coal blocks allocation which have gone missing thus hampering agency’s probe into alleged irregularities.
Out of 257 files, nearly 150 are of the period between 1993 and 2004 in which 45 coal blocks were allocated, agency sources said.
They said some of the missing files are related to 13 FIRs registered by CBI in connection with allocations done during 2006-09.
“We have written to Coal Ministry in May seeking files related to coal allocation scam. We have not received any response from them,” CBI Director Ranjit Singh told reporters.
The sources said their efforts to conclude the probe into 13 FIRs have come to a halt as several records sought by the agency about beneficiary companies are in these files which are not traceable.
They said the probe is getting affected as the allegations of misrepresentation of facts against the beneficiaries and favours given to them cannot be substantiated without the files related to allocations made.
These files carry crucial documents like application forms, supporting documents, minutes of the screening committee meetings, objections raised by officials and other records which are crucial for the CBI for proving its case.
The sources said the files are not only related to the beneficiaries’ records but also the companies which were rejected thus giving alleged wrongful edge to the companies which were finally allocated the mines.
The present figure of 257 missing files may go up, they said.
The sources said they have come to know that Comptroller and Auditor General may also be having files related to the coal blocks allocation and if needed they would approach the auditor for them.
However, they clarified that a decision on whether such files could be of any use in the CBI probe will be decided after analysing them.
The sources said agency would not be registering any case with regard to the missing files suo-moto and would wait a formal reply from the Ministry.
“The files are of Coal Ministry. If they have gone missing, it is the obligation of the Ministry to file a criminal case. We can only proceed with the destruction of evidence case if we receive a formal response from the Ministry,” an agency official said.
The sources said agency would inform the Supreme Court about these files and the fact that lack of records is adversely affecting its probe and delaying the charge sheets.
The CBI has registered three preliminary enquiries in connection with the scam. These are related to allocations between 2006-09, between 1993 and 2004 and those done to joint ventures. It has also registered 13 FIRs related to allocations between 2006 and 2009.
The agency has been directed by the apex court to file a fresh status report by August 29.
On August 6, the Supreme Court had directed the Centre to provide “full cooperation” to CBI in its probe in coal blocks allocation by providing it with all necessary information and files without any delay.
“As regards ongoing investigation by CBI, we have made it clear that all necessary information as required by CBI and all necessary files that may be needed for inquiry/ investigation has to be provided by all concerned” without any delay, a bench headed by Justice R M Lodha had said.