CBI begins probe into coal block charges

Cbi

THE Central Bureau of Investigation has taken its 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.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has offered a probe into the coal allocation scheme and government denied the charges. The period under scrutiny is 2006-2009 during which the portfolio was handled by the PM.

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

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