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Coal scam: firms in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand benefited most

Rajesh Ahuja and Abhishek Sharan, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 23, 2012
First Published: 00:12 IST(23/8/2012) | Last Updated: 07:34 IST(23/8/2012)

Around two dozen private companies have come under the CBI scanner in the coal scam. Some of these companies are likely to be named as accused in the FIRs that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is planning to file in the next few days.

The agency has found that the number of suspicious beneficiaries were the maximum in two states — Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.

The CBI has been investigating the allocation of captive coal blocks between 2006 and 2009 on the basis of a complaint forwarded to it by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC).

“Initial probe suggests that some of these companies made false representations such as having a tie-up with another company that on scrutiny were found to be non-existent, and some were simply ineligible to get captive coal blocks. We will name these companies in our FIRs,” said a senior official of the agency, on the condition of anonymity, given the sensitive nature of probe.

According to CBI sources, investigators have already sought clarification from some of these companies.

A few of them have also managed to satisfy CBI investigation about the alleged irregularity that suspected of them.

Another aspect of the probe is focused on the screening committee that selected these companies for allocation of coal blocks. The agency had prepared a list of firms that were allocated coal blocks on the recommendations of a few state governments during the probe period.

The state government officials were part of the screening committee constituted to vet private companies for allocation of coal blocks.

“The screening committee had coal ministry officials, state government officials and the top brass of coal public sector undertakings and their subsidiaries. We have to see how these companies were able to manage such a large screening committee, if at all,” said the official.

The agency is also examining the report of the Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG), which was tabled in Parliament recently. The report claimed a loss of Rs. 1.86 lakh crore to exchequer because the

government didn’t auction the coal blocks.

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