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189 of the 236 coal scam documents 'unavailable'!

Last updated on: August 27, 2013 20:34 IST

189 of the 236 coal scam documents unavailable!

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The central government has admitted before the Supreme Court that 189 out of the 236 documents sought by the Central Bureau of Investigation, which is probing coal block allocation scam, is "not-available".

In an affidavit filed before the apex court, the coal ministry submitted that an Inter Ministerial Committee has been constituted to "examine and review non-availability of any file or document" and to suggest appropriate action for locating them within a month.

Giving details of the missing documents, the ministry said that 7 files, 173 applications of coal block allocatees/ applicants and nine other documents are being traced.

"Of the 43 files, 21 have already been handed over to the CBI, 15 are available for handing over and CBI has been requested to collect the same. Efforts are being made to locate the rest 7 files.

"Out of 19 applications, 3 applications have already been made available to CBI. The remaining 16 applications along with 157 applications are being searched. Out of the 17 other documents, 6 have been supplied, 2 are available for handing over and 9 are being searched," the affidavit said.

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189 of the 236 coal scam documents unavailable!

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The affidavit said that so far 769 files/documents/other papers in original have been handed over to the CBI for investigation comprising of as many as 497 files, 163 applications, 40 agenda papers, 10 feedback-form booklets and 33 miscellaneous documents. It said that 26 CDs have also been handed over.

Responding to the apex court's query for justifying the controversial coal blocks allocation, the ministry submitted "allocation through screening committee has significantly contributed to the economy".

It referred to a committee report which had said that allocation of coal blocks had as effects on employment generation in downstream sectors such as power, sponge iron and cement.

Giving details of the allocations, the Centre said 178 coal blocks were allocated to government and private companies.

"Of these, 12 coal blocks have been earmarked for allocation to Ultra Mega Power Projects (UMPPs) through competitive tariff-based bidding route and 4 out of these 12 blocks, involving 2 projects, have already been awarded. 2 blocks have been allocated to private companies for Coal-to-Liquid projects based on recommendations made by an Inter-Ministerial Group," the affidavit said.

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189 of the 236 coal scam documents unavailable!

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It said 108 blocks have been allotted to private and government companies through a screening committee route and 56 blocks to government undertakings through government dispensation route.

"With regard to 108 blocks that stand allocated through screening committee route, 84 blocks have been allocated to private companies and 24 blocks have been allocated to government companies/undertakings," the affidavit said.

It said that so far 35 blocks have come into production as on March 31, 2013.

"35 blocks have come into production, which includes 5 blocks allocated through government dispensation route and 2 blocks allocated to UMPPs. Among the 108 blocks allotted through screening committee route, 11 blocks allotted to government companies and 17 blocks allotted to private companies have come into production," the affidavit said.

The government submitted the decision-making process for allotments through the screening committee route has to be understood and judged with reference to the applicable guidelines at the relevant time.

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189 of the 236 coal scam documents unavailable!

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Earlier in the day, the CBI and the Centre appeared heading for a confrontation in the case with the agency asserting in the Supreme Court that no prior sanction is required to prosecute bureaucrats in the scam, a stand contrary to that of government.

In a six-page affidavit, the CBI contended that no sanction or approval of the government is required in court monitored cases and referred to the apex court's judgement in 2G scam in which time period for government was stipulated in granting sanction in other cases.

"There is no requirement of sanction for prosecution in cases where court has either directed investigation or is monitoring investigation of the case.

"The consistent pronouncements of this court on Section 6A of the DSPE (Delhi Special Police Establishment) Act and Section 19 of the PC (Prevention of Corruption) Act clearly show that requirement of sanction for prosecution is not mandatory when the same is done pursuant to court direction or where cases are monitored by the Court," the agency said.

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The Centre, however, had earlier taken a contrary stand before the apex court by saying that even in a court-monitored probe, prior sanction is required to investigate government officials in a corruption case.

Countering the stand of the Centre, the CBI in its affidavit submitted that making prior sanction mandatory would amount to suspension of court's power to monitor investigation.

"It is submitted that in case if it is held that even in the investigation which are monitored by court, requirement of sanction under Section 6 A is mandatory, then it would amount to suspension of the power of the court to monitor investigation," the affidavit said.

Buttressing its stand on the issue of sanction, the agency referred to a Constitution bench judgement holding that "Constitutional court are empowered to direct investigation by the CBI and in such cases no sanction is necessary".



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