'Need comprehensive CBI probe'
Coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal has written to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), requesting a comprehensive CBI probe into allocation of all 195 coal blocks.
The letter, dated September 19, contends that instead of a selective CBI probe into block allocations between 2006 and 2009, there should be a comprehensive inquiry into all coal block allocations since 1993.Jaiswal's recommendation for inquiry into all block allocations would mean that decisions of all former governments would come under the CBI scanner and the investigation would be widened.
At present, only the Congress is facing the coal fire heat, but if the CBI begins probe into all block allocations since 1993, it could bring in its ambit the mines allocated by former governments, including the BJP-led NDA and Left supported United Front, as well.
The minister's letter came in after a group of seven Congress MPs on September 5 wrote to the CVC, demanding a CBI probe into the allocation of all blocks. Sandeep Dikshit, a Congress MP, later had forwarded this letter to the coal minister on September 14.
"I have written to the CVC urging it to conduct a detailed inquiry into all block allocations since 1993. Why should there be a selective probe in block allocations only between 2006 and 2009? Jaiswal told HT.
The year 1993 is significant as it was in this year that the Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Amendment Act 1993 was passed, allowing private firms to get captive coal blocks.
Interestingly, even CAG has in its report admitted that "…till 2004, there was no clearly spelt out criteria for allocation of coal mines and most of the mines were allocated to the applicants who had produced only a letter of recommendation from the concerned state government indicating that the party was planning to set up a permitted end use project of specified capacity."
Jaiswal added he had not yet got any response from the CVC.