It is understood to have unearthed discrepancies in the allocations
The Central Bureau of Investigation is finalising a report on its probe into the allocation of coal blocks and is understood to have unearthed discrepancies in the allocations, with the involvement of officials of State governments at various levels.
The CBI is preparing the ground for lodging of a first information report (FIR), which could well become the basis for cancellation of allocations. Sources in the government said the CBI scrutinised around 1,400 applications and found that a number of private players had either misrepresented facts to get allotment or were recommended by the respective State governments.
“The Inter-Ministerial Screening Committee acts on the recommendations of the State governments for allocation of coal blocks. If the allocations are deeply probed, then the State governments will also be in the dock as they have been instrumental in recommending the names of companies for coal block linkages,” a senior official in the Coal Ministry said.
7 firms on the radar
In preliminary probe, the CBI is understood to have found at least seven firms being allocated mines in an arbitrary manner or by misrepresenting the facts. The CBI scrutinised records of the Coal, Steel and Power Ministries and the PSUs under them.
“The CBI is likely to file two cases on the mines allocation issue. The first case will be against the companies which got mines through wrongdoing, and the second case could be against State government officials, who had backed these companies and their claims by recommending their names for allocation,” the official said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party had stalled Parliament for the last one week demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh following the Comptroller and Auditor General report that allocations made during 2004-09 led to a presumptive loss of Rs. 1.86 lakh crore to the exchequer as the competitive bidding process initiated in 2004 was not introduced for eight years.
The United Progressive Alliance government has maintained that the allocations were fair and the delay in introducing the competitive bidding process occurred due to stiff opposition from the BJP-ruled States and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) government in West Bengal. It also asserted that the allocations were done in a transparent manner and only after recommendations from the State governments.