The Central Bureau of Investigation last week registered four fresh FIRs in the coal block allocation scam naming some big companies for alleged misrepresentation and government officials for alleged irregularities which caused losses to the government exchequer. However, despite repeated attempts by TOI, CBI refused to share the details of the companies and government officials which have been named in the fresh FIRs.
With these four FIRs, cases in coal scam have now touched 44 while some 100 more instances of allocations are still being examined.
TOI learnt about the fresh FIRs last week after which it approached CBI through official channel for details several times. The agency chose to not share the details of accused named in the FIRs. The policy division of anti-corruption agency, which handles media, was tightlipped on details.
It plans to soon wrap up its probe in the multi-crore coal scam, which is being monitored by the Supreme Court.
Despite so many FIRs and after more than two and a half years, the agency has yet to establish the quantum of losses to the government exchequer due to irregularities in allocations.
CBI had registered a total of three preliminary enquiries in 2012 related to coal scam – to investigate allocations between 2006 and 2009, allocations between 1993 and 2004, and projects given under the government dispensation scheme.
It registered some high profile cases including FIR against Hindalco, Naveen Jindal’s JSPL, Vijay Darda and companies belonging to his family members, Madhu Koda, and others. On court’s order, it even recently questioned former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who defended the allocation of Talabira II coal block to Hindalco saying the decision was taken on merit. The apex court recently stayed the summoning of Singh and others as accused in the case by the trial court.
Some of the cases have been chargesheeted by CBI while many have been closed as well due to lack of evidence.
In its two and a half year probe, CBI sources say, they found that “most of the allocations had been done without following the procedures, there were systematic failures, records including minutes were not maintained properly and there was no transparency at all while allocating the captive coal blocks”.
CBI had examined thousands of documents, records and questioned several secretaries, ministers, businessmen and babus to establish the irregularities in the allocation process.
The agency found most of the anomalies in allocations between 2006 and 2009.
“Allocation during this period was done without verifying the credentials of companies which allegedly misrepresented facts about themselves and no rationale was adduced by the coal ministry for giving them blocks,” said an officer.