Enlarging the ambit of its money laundering probe into the coal blocks allocation scam, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has registered 17 fresh criminal cases against firms from various parts of the country. The ED had already filed 16 PMLA FIRs in this probe.
"The agency has filed 17 new FIRs in the coal blocks allocation matter. These cases, filed under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), are against firms based in several states including Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha," official sources said.
They said the agency will now issue summons to the executives and record their statements even as it plans to attach some assets of these firms under money laundering laws.
The CBI, which is also probing the case along with the ED, has registered close to three dozen cases under various sections of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA).
ED, the sources said, had already scrutinised a number of documents and financial statements of these firms, after taking them from CBI, before the latest criminal charges were pressed.
The agency has also recently questioned former Minister of State for Coal Dasari Narayan Rao who has been named along with other private parties in a particular case. It has also seized assets worth nearly Rs 200 crore as part of these investigations till now.
"Some more attachments of assets, including immovable properties and fixed deposits of those individuals and companies named in the ED FIRs, will be done," the sources said.
While the Supreme Court is monitoring the probe of both ED and CBI, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on blackmoney too is reviewing the overall investigations and coordination between the two central agencies in these cases.