CBI may question CMs of some coal-rich states
As most of the coal allocations under the CBI scanner have been made in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa , their respective CMs — Raman Singh, Arjun Munda and Naveen Patnaik — and two Jharkhand ex-CMs — Madhu Koda and Shibu Soren — may be questioned. Rajesh Ahuja reports. DMK minister comes under fire | How black is coal | Timeline | In the eye of the stormdelhi Updated: Sep 07, 2012 02:10 IST
The CBI may ask some chief ministers and ex-chief ministers to spell out why their governments recommended some private-sector companies, which were later found to be ineligible, for coal block allocations.
As most of the coal allocations under the CBI scanner have been made in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa , their respective CMs — Raman Singh, Arjun Munda and Naveen Patnaik — and two Jharkhand ex-CMs — Madhu Koda and Shibu Soren — may be questioned.The CBI is investigating coal block allocation to private companies between 2006 and 2009.
“Most of the allocations were made on the recommendations of state governments and now our investigation has found some of the recommended companies were simply ineligible to get captive coal blocks. We need to find out what made these three state governments recommend these companies. We will also question key state government officials concerned with coal block allocations. It will be a thorough probe,” said a senior CBI official requesting anonymity.
Investigators found a major chunk of companies had not only previous allocations of coal blocks but also they were sitting on them. The blocks were simply left undeveloped.
Despite that, the state governments recommended these companies for vetting their proposals in the screening committee. The state governments had a major say in allocation of the coal block.
"We need to know was it simply an oversight or an act done by criminal intent," said the official.
According to sources, once these coal blocks were allocated, the substantial onus was on the state governments to a keep a tab on the companies that were allocated captive blocks.
The state governments had signed memoranda of understanding with the companies to establish steel or power plants. That’s why these companies were allocated captive coal blocks.
But some of these companies had jumped in the fray to make fast money. They didn’t have any interest in establishing power or steel plants."We would like to know what compelled these state governments not to act against these companies," said the official.