The CBI, which is probing the coal scam, is focusing on the allocation of three Jharkhand coal blocks by the coal ministry's inter-ministerial screening committee in 2006. The coal blocks were recommended to the committee by the state government headed by Arjun Munda, who was the chief minister even then.
The three coal blocks - located in North Dhadu, Dumri and Bundu - were allocated to seven private firms on single as well as joint basis. The agency is examining whether the recipients of the three coal blocks had misrepresented or concealed facts on issues such as net worth and prior allocation to bag the deals, said a source. "We are scrutinising all documents submitted by seven firms that were allocated the blocks in January 2006," he added.
The CBI has, so far, lodged cases against seven firms for alleged misrepresentation of facts to get block allocations.
The committee, comprising the then chief secretary and senior officials, recommended the allocation of the coal blocks on March 1, 2005. The North Dhadu captive coal block was given jointly to four firms while the one at Dumri was given to two firms on January 13, 2006. The Bundu coal block, on the other hand, was allocated to a single firm on April 25, 2006.
Munda confirmed to HT that the coal blocks were allocated by the panel between January 2006 and April 2006 to the firms on the basis of the state's recommendation. In his defence, he said, "All these companies had signed MoUs for setting up steel or power plants in the state, and were recommended as per the state Industrial policy for coal allocations… All recommendations… were done with the sole intention of promoting industrialisation."