Last week, Coal Minister Shri Prakash Jaiswal wrote to CVC seeking a CBI probe into all the coal blocks allocated since 1993 when Government had started allocation to private players for captive use.
Seeking the CBI probe, Jaiswal has also recently forwarded a letter written by seven parliamentarians to the CVC saying that blocks allotted between 1993 and 2004 including those given during the NDA rule should be investigated by the CBI, as allegedly favours were done to parties under political pressure. The letter of MPs also sought for enquiry as to what system the Government of India put in place for selection of companies for coal block allocation between 1993 to 2004 and whether these guidelines were followed and how were joint venture partners selected.
The CVC referred the complaints to the CBI to probe the matter and the agency will soon begin its investigation on it, CBI sources said. The allocation of coal blocks to private companies for captive use started in 1993 when Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973 was amended with the objective of attracting private investments in specified end uses such as power, cement and steel because of growing economy.
In its ongoing probe, CBI has so far registered seven FIRs against private companies and unknown public officials for alleged misrepresentation of facts. "Till March 2011, the Ministry of Coal has allocated 194 coal blocks for captive mining of which 142 were explored blocks and the balance 52 were either regionally explored or unexplored coal blocks," Comptroller and Auditor General has said in its recent report on coal block allocation.