After refusing to yield, the Government has finally given its nod to CBI to question former Coal Secretary H.C. Gupta, at present a member of Competition Commission of India, in connection with the coal blocks allocation scam.
The request of the investigating agency to probe the role of Mr. Gupta was earlier turned down by the Government but now the CBI sources said Corporate Affairs Ministry has given the go ahead to the agency to quiz him.
The Ministry had refused to grant him permission even as the CBI reasoned out that his questioning was important as he was the Secretary between 2006 and 2009, a period which has come under the scanner.
The refusal of the Corporate Affairs Ministry has generated furore in political circles as BJP saw it as an infringement in the coal scam probe.
“There has been a crisis of confidence as far as CBI functioning is concerned. Earlier, attempts were made by the government to interfere in its affairs when the Law Minister was found tampering with the status report on Coalgate... Now it has denied permission to CBI to question Mr Gupta,” BJP spokesperson Abhimanyu had said.
When contacted over phone, Mr. Gupta said he would not like to speak on the matter.
The CBI, which is probing the coal block allocation scam, has registered 12 FIRs related to alleged irregularities in the allotment of coal blocks from 2006 to 2009.
During this period, 68 coal blocks were allotted to 151 companies and files of some of them had gone missing.
In the latest FIR, CBI has named unknown members of screening committee as accused along with Congress MP Naveen Jindal and former Minister of State for Coal Dasari Narayan Rao as accused. Screening Committee which clears allocation of coal block is normally chaired by Secretary for Coal.