Coalgate: CBI raids offices in 11 cities
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday raided 30 locations across eleven cities of India cracking down on at least five companies in connection with coal block allocations scam.
The federal investigating agency has also filed FIRs against these companies on charges of cheating.
The CBI said it has registered five separate cases against certain private companies, their directors and unknown public servants on Sept 3.
The cases have been registered in connection with the allegations related to getting coal blocks allocated on the basis of misrepresentations and false claims in the applications, presentations and connivance/lack of due diligence on part of public servants.
Promoters of some of these companies have allegedly sold their stakes in an irregular manner after allocation of coal blocks, said the CBI.
Searches are being conducted Tuesday at 30 locations in 11 cities including Nagpur, Kolkata, Bhilai, Yavatmal, Raipur, Dhanbad, Ranchi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi (NCR), among others.
A preliminary enquiry to examine the irregularities, if any, in the allocation of coal blocks during the period 2006-09 was registered on a reference from CVC, in June this year.
According to media reports, the companies are Jas Infrastructure, AMR, JLD Yavatmal, Vimy Iron and Navbharat Power.
CBI office sources in Kolkata confirmed IBNS that raids are on in the city.
"We began raids since early morning," said a top CBI official.
Earlier reports said the CBI raids are based on complaints by two opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs filed before the government's auditors CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) came out with its report indicting the government for allocating blocks to private companies that cost the state exchequer Rs 1.86 lakh crore.
Under the shadow of Coalgate, an Inter Ministerial Group (IMG) Monday held the 4th meeting for periodic review of coal blocks.
The crucial meeting of the inter-ministerial group set up in July on coal blocks allocation was organised to deliberate upon the replies to show cause notices issued to coal block allocatees on account of slippages in attainment of milestones for development of coal block and recommend action including deduction of bank guarantee.
While the panel is likely to decide the fate of 148 coal blocks, in focus for severe scrutiny are 58 blocks which were earlier showcased in April for failing to meet various requirements.
Media reports said of these 60, at least 17 replies from the companies are not satisfactory.
The IMG has fixed a schedule for meeting on Sept 6, 7 and 8, 2012 during which allocatees will be given an opportunity to be heard and present the reasons for delay, if any.
While some of these blocks were allotted during the time of National Democratic Alliance (NDA) rule, at least 53 were those which were mentioned in the explosive Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report.
While the government continued to face the heat over the CAG report on irregular coal block allocations, there are indications that licences for mining in many of coal blocks allotted could be cancelled.
The latest progress as reported by the Coal Controller will also be taken into account before recommending on the action against the coal block allocatees.
The IMG has also firmed up the guidelines for proportionate deduction of Bank Guarantees (BG) for failure to achieve mile stones for development of the block.
According to media reports, licences for more than 50 coal blocks have reviewed and some of them would be cancelled for failing to meet the requirements of the deals like taking the first steps of mining.
The report said in April this year the government sent showcause notices to 58 to 60 firms which had not made the mines operational despite getting licences.
Both Houses of the Indian Parliament were adjourned for the days over the coal scam.
The coal report of the CAG has pointed finger at the loss-making coal block allocations when the portfolio was held by Manmohan Singh.
The report by the CAG said 25 private companies received benefits of around Rs 1.86 lakh crore through of coalblock allocations in various states.
Manmohan Singh said the observations of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on the coal allocations are disputable and they would be challenged in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).