CBI punches holes in panel’s selection process | delhi | Hindustan Times
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CBI punches holes in panel’s selection process

Investigators have found instances when the screening committee — a panel constituting 15 central and state government officials meant for vetting captive coal block allocation proposals — did not call many of the applicant companies to make presentations, Rajesh Ahuja reports.

delhi Updated: Sep 07, 2012 02:18 IST
Rajesh Ahuja

Investigators have found instances when the screening committee — a panel constituting 15 central and state government officials meant for vetting captive coal block allocation proposals — did not call many of the applicant companies to make presentations.

“When the companies that were left out protested, they were called again. The methods adopted by the screening committee seem to be far from transparent in some cases.

"The committee members will have to explain why some companies were called for presentations and others were not. How did the screening committee evaluate a particular company for making recommendations for the coal block?” an investigator asked.

The CAG had earlier remarked that the screening committee did not follow a transparent method for making recommendations for coal block allocations.

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Sources said that in some cases, the allotments were made on the basis of minutes pertaining to screening committee meetings, but there was nothing either in the minutes or other documents regarding comparative evaluation of applicants.

The minutes of the committee deliberations also failed to suggest how the companies were evaluated.

The CAG checked the files and documents on the allocation of two blocks - Fatehpur and Rampia.

In the case of Fatehpur, the screening committee asked for presentations only from 36 of the 69 companies that had applied - finally recommending two of them.

In the case of Rampia, only two of the 108 applicants were called for making presentations. Interestingly, the committee then recommended six firms for allocation.

"Investigators have found many such instances where the screening committee made recommendations that cannot be explained easily. We will summon officials of the screening committee very soon," another investigator said.

While the screening committee meetings were presided over by the Union coal secretary, the state governments were generally represented by an official at the level of the chief secretary.

"The screening committee was large body. We also need to find out if how some companies were able to manage such a big committee," he added.