The CBI has found out that files pertaining to the allocation of around four dozen coal blocks (made between 1993 and 2004) are untraceable. A few more crucial files of when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held the charge of the ministry (2006 and 2009) are also missing. The most important of these files were on screening committee meetings that recommended the allocation of coal blocks to applicant companies. Another hurdle in the probe is the non-cooperation of the state governments. So far only two — Jharkhand and Kerala — out of 20 states — have given sanctions to the CBI for probing joint ventures between state-owned companies and private operators. The rest of the states including two BJP-ruled major mining states — Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh — are yet to give sanctions despite reminders.
The CBI needs to do much more to convince the public that its investigations are on track and the government needs to ensure that its departments cooperate with the investigations. The SC’s vigilance is as required today as it was when it first intervened.