CBI begins probe into coal block allocation charges


The Central Bureau of Investigation has taken a first step to probe allegations regarding the allotment of coal blocks, an issue raised by Team Anna and to which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reacted by saying he would resign if there was "even an iota of truth" in the charges.

The CBI move comes after the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) forwarded a complaint to it filed by BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Prakash Javadekar in March. In April, the agency was asked by the CVC to submit a report within 12 weeks and register a preliminary enquiry (PE), if required. The period under scrutiny is 2006-2009, during which the portfolio was handled by the Prime Minister.

CBI director A P Singh, sources said, is monitoring the probe following his return from an anti-corruption meet in Bhutan today. It is alleged that coal was allotted to companies which were "ineligible", and were in some cases fronts for other companies. The CVC, in its reference, pegged the loss at Rs 85,000 crore.

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