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Massive hunt for coal files begins

delhi Updated: Aug 22, 2013 01:32 IST
Abhishek Sharan

The CBI is preparing to use all its options to get its hands on around 257 key files related to the coal allocation scam.

It is also ready to proceed with a destruction of evidence case if the coal ministry confirms that the files cannot be recovered and lodges a complaint to that effect.

In its hunt for the missing files, CBI will approach the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) for the copies or request them to reconstruct the files. A senior CBI source said they will also request the coal ministry to do the same.

“Four probe reports, which pertain to four of the 13 cases filed by us, are ready but we cannot show them to the law ministry for vetting. We will request the Supreme Court on August 27 for a direction in this regard.” The source said the agency is likely to file around 30-odd cases in the coming weeks as part of its probe.

Of the 257 missing files 157 pertain to 157 private firms that had applied for coal blocks but were irregularly eliminated, which the agency believes was done in order to favour applicants who had dubious eligibility profile, “Copies of all applications received for 45 coal blocks allocated during 1993-2005 have been found missing too,” said the source.

“If the files have gone missing, the coal ministry is supposed to confirm to us the same, lodge a criminal complaint and inform the court that will pass a suitable order. Only then we may proceed with a destruction of evidence case,” the source said.

Repeated requests for these files, in May and then on August 14, received no formal reply from the coal ministry.

The CBI has filed 13 cases and three preliminary enquiries as part of its probe into alleged irregularities in the allocation of captive coal blocks during 2006-9.