The UPA government on Tuesday candidly admitted before the Supreme Court that certain documents related to the coalgate scam were untraceable and efforts were on to locate them.
In an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court, the coal ministry said around 173 applications of private companies which had applied for allocation of coal blocks were missing.
Of these, 157 belong to those applicants who had applied before June 2004 but were not allocated coal blocks. The ministry further admitted that seven of the 43 files, wanted by the CBI, were still untraceable. Efforts are also being made to trace nine documents which the CBI wants to complete its probe.
The Centre is likely to face embarrassment over its failure to provide the relevant documents to the CBI for its investigation. A special bench headed by justice RM Lodha would consider the affidavit on Thursday.
For the purpose of locating the records, the government has constituted an inter-ministerial committee under the chairmanship of additional secretary, coal ministry.
Meanwhile, the Centre and the CBI appear to be heading for a confrontation in the case with the agency asserting that no prior sanction was required to prosecute bureaucrats in a court-monitored case.
In another application the CBI sought a direction from the SC that it be permitted to disclose and discuss the facts of the coalgate cases with its in-house and special lawyers. It said the names of the prosecutors and special lawyers would be submitted to the court on Thursday in a sealed envelope.