Agency may name officials who overlooked misrepresentation by tainted companies
The CBI probe points to a criminal conspiracy hatched by Coal Ministry officials, along with certain functionaries of the Power Ministry and State governments, in accepting and pursuing forged documents from tainted companies, including that of Congress MP Vijay Darda-linked JLD Yavatmal Energy Limited, for fraudulent allocation of coal blocks.
Highly-placed government sources said the next round of FIRs to be lodged by the investigating agency could actually name the officials who were part and parcel of this conspiracy and who joined hands to suppress facts about these companies, their standing, holdings and financial transactions. Certain officials of the Screening Committee, the Coal Ministry, the Ministry of Power and other administrative machinery deliberately overlooked the misrepresentation of facts by the tainted firms, the sources added.
“Officials of the Ministry of Coal, in pursuance of the criminal conspiracy, failed to carry out scrutiny of the aforesaid documents regarding the false claims/concealment of facts by JLD Yavatmal Energy Ltd, which got undue advantage in allocation of the Fatehpur East coal blocks,” said an FIR filed on September 3.
JLD Yavatmal Energy is linked to Mr. Vijay Darda and his younger brother Rajendra Darda, who is a Minister in the Congress-NCP coalition government in Maharashtra. “What is even more shocking is that the company, while seeking coal blocks in 2007, failed to inform the Coal Ministry and the Screening Committee that it had been already allocated four blocks during 1999-2005 including those under the NDA regime. They [JLD Yavatmal] fraudulently and wilfully concealed the fact of previous allocations to the group companies with an object to avoid scrutiny on this count which would have weakened their claim,” a senior government official said.
Moreover, while the Power Ministry had recommended allocation of the Fatehpur block to four companies including JLD Yavatmal, the Chhattisgarh government had not recommended the Darda-linked firm for allocation of any coal block. Interestingly, UPA II maintained till now that all allocations were made on the basis of recommendations of the State governments. In the case of Vini Iron and Steel, it was Vijay Joshi, a close aide of the former Jharkhand Chief Minister, Madhu Koda, who allegedly benefited from the largesse. Vini Iron and Steel was allocated the Rajhara North coal block, which was immediately sold to Mr. Joshi for handsome profits.