The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has informed the Supreme Court that it is considering the closure of two of its Preliminary Enquiry (PE) probes against unknown persons to find how and why over a dozen files related to coal block allocations during 1993-2009 had gone missing as no foul play was found.
The CBI intimated the court that its probes as part of the PEs, which were lodged in September 2013, did not find any evidence suggesting that the files went missing due to any criminal conspiracy to prevent detection of irregularities on part of any government official or applicant firm, said a CBI source.
“Besides, since filing of the two PEs, the coal ministry was able to retrieve and hand over to us almost all the files that were earlier missing. So, our coal-scam probe is not getting affected now,” said the source.
The source, however, said that a few files are still traceless though they are not hampering the ongoing probe.
The scrutiny report on the financial strength of applicant companies prepared by the Coal India Limited (CIL) is among the files still suspected to be missing.
Around 225 files were allegedly found to be missing after the CBI filed its first coal scam case in September 2012.
Later, in September 2013, the agency submitted its final, reconciled list of 30-odd missing files to the ministry for retrieval that included the 34th screening committee’s draft minutes.
During May-August, 2013, the CBI director had twice sent reminders to the ministry for retrieval of the files. The investigative agency has so far filed 20 cases in its probe.
It had also filed five PEs, including the two pertaining to the missing files.