Likely to name present and former officials in allocation of coal blocks

The Central Bureau of Investigation will soon lodge an FIR into a dozen-odd missing files in the Coalgate scam following failure of the Coal Ministry to locate these documents.

These include those containing details of the minutes of meeting of Screening Committee and records pertaining to allocation of coal blocks to big corporate houses for mega power projects.

Waiting for Ministry’s nod

Top CBI sources said they were still awaiting a final word from the Ministry although the agency sleuths had a meeting with Ministry officials on Thursday where it was decided to lodge FIRs in case of missing files. “The lodging of an FIR will entail naming of former and present officials of the Coal, Steel, Mines and Power Ministries and even those in the PMO who were instrumental in taking decisions in allocation of coal blocks. Fingers would also be pointed at officials in the State governments and that is the reason why Coal Ministry was reluctant to order a formal probe into the matter,’’ a senior CBI official said.

Interestingly, the file pertaining to the recommendation letter by Congress MP, Vijay Darda for coal block allocation to AMR Iron and Steel still missing and has not been found even in the PMO.

“At Thursday’s meeting, it was decided that a list of missing files would be given to CBI in the next two days along with a request to lodge a formal complaint on the basis of which investigations could be carried out. The CBI officials made it clear that unless there was a request from the Coal Ministry, no FIR would be lodged,’’ another official remarked.

Some of the crucial files pertaining to meetings of the Screening Committee remain untraced which could hamper investigations. Preliminary enquiry

Both the CBI and Coal Ministry officials have zeroed down on nearly a dozen-odd files missing but the final list is likely to be compiled by the CBI and submitted to the Supreme Court which is monitoring the investigations. Initially, the agency is likely to register a preliminary enquiry (PE) in case of missing files and later turn it into an FIR after some investigations.

One of the most important documents missing include minutes of the 26th Screening Committee meeting where crucial decision towards allocation of coal blocks were taken. “There is no evidence to show that how coal blocks were allocated and why claims of some applicants were rejected. The applications and related documents of many of the applicants have also remained untraced for some strange reason,’’ officials said.

On Monday, the Ministry had a large number of files/documents handed over to the CBI. But the CBI officials said that not all the files pertaining to the list they had submitted through the Attorney General had been found and sent by the Ministry. The CBI had sought files which include allotments made to Tata Sponge Iron Private Limited, minutes of the 26th Screening Committee, allotment to Jharkhand Ispat Private Limited and Rathi Steel and Power.

The Supreme Court had, while hearing the case on August 29, directed CBI to give a list of documents, files and information, sought by it, within five days to the Coal Ministry which, in turn, would furnish them within two weeks. The agency in its letter dated September 2 to Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati had given an exhaustive list of over 50 allocations.

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