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CBI registers two enquiries on missing coal files

Source: PTI
September 20, 2013 19:39 IST
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Central Bureau of Investigation on Friday registered two enquiries to look into the issue of missing files on coal block allocations from the Coal Ministry.

"We have registered two preliminary enquiries. One is for the period between 1993 and 2005 and another is for the period 2006-09," CBI Director Ranjit Sinha told PTI.

CBI sources said the agency received a letter from the Coal Ministry on Wednesday giving list of documents which have been traced in the Ministry record rooms. The ministry urged CBI to consider the letter as complaint.

"The preliminary enquiries have been registered against unknown persons," CBI spokesperson Kanchan Prasad said.

Later, the agency officials held a meeting with the Coal Ministry officials to reconcile the files which are still not traceable and require a thorough probe by the agency.

The sources said during the reconciliation it became clear that 15-18 crucial files which are related to coal block allocations done in different batches are not traceable and it is affecting the agency's probe.

Based on the conclusions drawn during the meeting, the agency decided to split its enquiry in two parts -- files relating to allocations done during the period spanning from 2006-09 in which CBI has registered 13 FIRs so far and files related to the period between 1993 and 2005 in which no FIR has been registered, the sources said.

They said the agency decided to proceed with the preliminary enquiry as there was not enough material to register a regular case or FIR.

During the analysis of documents and interactions with the Coal Ministry officials, CBI found that some of the crucial files are not in existence.

The sources said one such case is of the files related to minutes of the 26th screening committee, which are not available in the Ministry and despite best efforts only the draft minutes could be traced.

They said the agency would look into the issue of such missing files as decisions have been taken referring to the minutes of the screening committee which are said to be not in existence.

On Monday, the Coal Ministry had sent a tranche of documents along with the list of files and records. The preliminary analysis had shown not all files sought by the agency were provided by the Ministry.

CBI is looking for crucial records related to ongoing 13 cases filed by it in connection with the coal blocks allocation scam which include the letter of Congress MP Vijay Darda  recommending coal block for AMR Iron and Steel, one of the accused companies.

Last week, CBI had listed 150 files and documents as "not received".

In the list given to the Coal Ministry, CBI also sought the files which include allotments made to Tata Sponge Iron Private Limited, minutes of the 26th screening committee, allotment to Jharkhand Ispat Private Limited and the agenda form sent by the company to Under Secretary S K Kakkar.

The Supreme Court had, while hearing the case on August 29, directed CBI to give a list of documents, files and information, sought by it, within five days to the Coal Ministry which, in turn, would furnish them within two weeks.

The agency in its letter dated September 2 to Attorney General G E Vahanvati had given an exhaustive list of over 50 allocations, the files of which have not been received by it.

The apex court had directed the Coal Ministry that if any document remains untraceable, then FIRs have to be lodged by the Coal Ministry with CBI within a week thereafter.

Holding that the missing documents are "vital" for the probe in the scam, the apex court directed the Coal Ministry to lodge complaint with CBI if it fails to trace any document sought by the agency.

Image: Reuters

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