The CBI on Friday registered a preliminary enquiry (PE) to look into whether private companies that were allotted coal blocks between 2006 and 2009 benefitted by allegedly outsourcing them for profit.
The CBI has made it clear it will only investigate misuse of the allotments, if any, by the private companies and not the policy decision of the government.
“The PE has been registered against unknown persons. Its mandate is not to look into the allocation of the coal blocks as it was a policy decision. We are probing if the private companies misused the blocks by outsourcing them for profit,” said a senior CBI official.
The government maintained that all rules had been followed. “The same principles are being followed for the last 15 years for providing subsidised power to the people,” said coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal.
The coal portfolio was with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh when the blocks were allotted. Opposition parties on Friday joined Team Anna in questioning Singh’s role.
CPM trade union leader Tapan Sen termed as “drama” the handing of the complaint by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) to the CBI. “Will the CBI look into the misdeeds of the PMO or dare to question the Prime Minister?” he asked.
BJP leader Prakash Javadekar, who filed the complaint along with colleague Hansraj Ahir, however, expressed happiness that the CVC had taken note of the complaint.