The impact of the CBI's Tuesday crackdown—raids in 30 cities and five FIRs —is likely to be felt as far as the US.
On August 15, Indian flag was hoisted and national anthem played at the mansion of Kentucky's governor, celebrating a $7bn (Rs. 39,200 crore) agreement between Nagpur-based Abhijeet Group and New Jersey-based FJS Energy LLC for purchase of 9 million tonne of coal annually for 25 years to feed energy-starved India.
After the CBI registered cases against three companies related to the Manoj Jayaswal-led group for irregularities in coal-block allotment, the US deal is under cloud with ministry of external affairs sensitising its mission in Washington about the controversy and its possible fall-out.The deal was signed between FJS Energy LLC board chairman and former Coal India chief MP Narayanan and Abhijeet Group's executive director Anand Kumar for an annual import of Kentucky high-quality coal. The first shipment of coal was to leave from New Orleans, in Louisiana this month, but now it looks uncertain.
There are doubts on the Raisina Hill whether the embattled Abhijeet Group will be able to honour its commitment on Kentucky coal import, considering that it was allotted 10 coal linkages and now stands accused of misrepresenting facts and making false claims in applying for blocks in India and later selling stake in an irregular manner.
"As far we are concerned, the deal will go through as it was planned. We don't have any information about any worries about the deal from any quarter," said Abhishek Mathai, deputy manager of communication with Abhijeet Group.
The first-ever long-term coal purchase agreement with the US was celebrated within the India-US diplomatic and business circles, but there are a few red faces today as the allotment scandal could generate a negative sentiment for Indian companies in the US.
Government sources said while it was for Abhijeet group to inform FJS Energy about the CBI probes, the involvement of the power and steel group in the controversy had been taken note of by the US government through its mission in Delhi.