The “unknown” public servants involved in the alleged misrepresentations and false claims made by four of the five private companies booked by the Central Bureau of Investigation in connection with the coal block allocations are suspected to have either shown lack of due diligence or connived with the accused companies for pecuniary gains.

The CBI, which has already examined several government officials who played a role in screening the applications for coal block allocations between 2006 and 2009, has alleged that some unknown public servants overlooked or did not cross-check details furnished by the accused companies.

In the case registered against JAS Infrastructure Capital Private Ltd. (Kolkata), its directors have been accused of conspiring with public servants to conceal the fact that it had earlier been allocated coal block. The company also allegedly made false representations about its group companies to show an inflated “net worth” to meet the eligibility criteria. The CBI found that a similar modus operandi was employed allegedly by AMR Iron & Steel Private Ltd. (Nagpur), Navbharat Power Private Ltd. (Hyderabad) and Vini Iron & Steel Udyog Ltd. (Kolkata) and their directors.

In the case of JLD Yavatmal Energy Ltd. (Nagpur) and its directors, the agency found that they allegedly provided false representations about the group companies and earlier allocations. “False replies were given by AMR, JAS Infrastructure and JLD Yavatmal to queries in the applications (Nos. 29 and 30) seeking information on previous allocations and if any, their present status. They also misrepresented their net worth,” alleged a CBI official.

Investigations also revealed that one of the promoters of Navbharat Power Private Ltd. (Hyderabad), after getting the Rampia and Dip Side of Rampia coal blocks in Odisha, allegedly sold off 5,000 personal shares for a whopping Rs. 50 crore to another private company. A majority company share was also purportedly transferred to the same firm, whereby the promoters lost control over the company.

It is alleged that the ownership pattern of Vini Iron & Steel Udyog Ltd. (Kolkata) changed after it filed the application. The company was later allocated the Rajhara North coal block in Jharkhand.

Following registration of the five cases, the CBI has conducted searches at 30 places including Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Nagpur, Kolkata, Bhilai, Yavatmal, Raipur, Ranchi and Dhanbad.

Asserting that the cases had no connection whatsoever with the Comptroller and Auditor General report on the coal block allocations, the CBI official said the action was a follow-up of a continuing preliminary enquiry registered to “examine the irregularities, if any, in the allocation of coal blocks during 2006-09 on a reference from the Central Vigilance Commission in June”.

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