CBI widens probe ambit

New Delhi: The CBI has decided to expand its probe into coalgate bringing under its scanner all coal block allocations made since 1993 including the six-year NDA rule after a reference in this regard was received from the CVC on Monday.

Last week, Coal Minister Shri Prakash Jaiswal wrote to Central Vigilance Commission seeking a CBI probe into all the coal blocks allocated since 1993 when Government had started allocation to private players for captive use.

Seeking the CBI probe, Jaiswal has also recently forwarded a letter written by seven parliamentarians to the CVC saying that blocks allotted between 1993 and 2004 including those given during the NDA rule should be investigated by the CBI, as allegedly favours were done to parties under political pressure.

The letter of MPs also sought for enquiry as to what system the Government of India put in place for selection of companies for coal block allocation between 1993 to 2004 and whether these guidelines were followed and how were joint venture partners selected.

The CVC today referred the complaints to the CBI to probe the matter and the agency will soon begin its investigation on it, CBI sources said.

The allocation of coal blocks to private companies for captive use started in 1993 when Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973 was ammended with the objective of attracting private investments in specified end uses such as power, cement and steel because of growing economy. In its ongoing probe, CBI has so far registered seven FIRs against private companies and unknown public officials for alleged misrepresentation of facts.

Meanwhile, BJP said it has no reservations on the CVC’s order asking CBI to probe coal allocations 1993 onwards and alleged this was a “delaying tactic” of Congress as it does not want truth to come out.

“We are not worried about the CVC asking the CBI to probe coal block allocations from 1993 as the NDA has nothing to hide. The issue here is who is bringing in the 1993 period and why. It is the Congress which has been demanding this as it wants to delay everything,” BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said. (PTI)

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