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HindustanTimes Fri,25 Apr 2014

Coalgate: CBI grills ex-coal minister over alleged role

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 13, 2013
First Published: 23:50 IST(13/5/2013) | Last Updated: 01:20 IST(14/5/2013)

The CBI has examined former minister of state for coal Dasari Narayan Rao in connection with the coal block allocation scam. His statement was recorded a few weeks back.

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Rao was minister of state for coal between May 23, 2004 and April 6, 2008. After him Santosh Bagrodia became minister of state in the coal ministry between April 7, 2008 and May 29, 2009. Bagrodia has also been examined by the CBI.

Besides Rao and Bagrodia, the CBI has also recorded statement of Shibu Soren, who thrice held the coal portfolio during UPA-1.

Soren remained cabinet minister of coal between May and July 2004, till a Jharkhand court issued an arrest warrant against him. Soren again became coal minister on November 27, 2004 but resigned in March 2005 to become chief minister of Jharkhand. But after his coalition government fell, he was again inducted into the union cabinet in January 2006. Soren, however, resigned in November 2006 after being held guilty in a murder case by a special CBI court.

In the periods between Soren’s resignation and re-induction in the coal ministry during UPA-1, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was cabinet minister for coal.

After Soren resigned from coal ministry for last time in November 2006, the Prime Minister held the cabinet charge of the coal ministry for almost 30 months till May 2009.

The CBI started probing coal block allocations between 2006 and 2009 after a reference from the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC). The CVC asked the CBI to probe the allocations between 2006 and 2009 after it received a complaint from two BJP MPs-Hansraj Ahir and Prakash Javadekar.

Later the agency expanded the scope of its probe from 1993 onwards and also added coal block allocations to state companies as well.

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