"You have to pick up speed for concluding the probe against all 169 companies allegedly involved in the scam," the court told the CBI.
The probe agency has, in response, assured that it would complete the coal investigation in four or five months.
The apex court said the CBI would investigate how and why crucial files related to the coal allocation scam went missing.
It also asked the government that, "is it an attempt to destroy records?"
"You just can't sit over papers. All documents required by CBI should be made available. There can't be any justification in not providing them," the top court told the Centre.
Earlier, Union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal had said seven files, 173 applications and nine other documents connected with the coal block allocations were not traceable.
The apex court on Thursday said if some files are missing the government should submit a report of such missing files to CBI, which will probe it.
The CBI needs nearly 225 files from the Coal Ministry to progress in investigations.
The Comptroller and Auditor General's (CAG) report on coal block allocation estimated a loss of Rs 1.86 lakh crore to the national exchequer owing to irregular allocations.
The CAG named 25 private companies as beneficiaries of coal block allocations in various states. They included companies like Essar Power, Hindalco, Tata Power, Tata Steel and Jindal Steel and Power Ltd.
--IBNS (Posted on 29-08-2013)