Massive illegalities in coal block allocation, says CBI status report

Coal mine

The CBI, in its probe report before the Supreme Court, has indicted the Centre over "massive irregularities and illegalities" in coal block allocation and alleged lack of cooperation by the Coal Ministry.

In its latest status report on the probe, the CBI informed a Bench led by Justice R M Lodha that there were various "serious" breaches in the manner the screening committee examined the applications for allocation of coal blocks and decided such allotments.

This was the CBI's second status report into the matter filed as per the court orders. The first report, dated March 8, is under judicial scanner for its vetting by Law Minister Ashwani Kumar and others. The Bench on Tuesday sought to know the kind of changes made in it after the interference.

The latest report, CBI Director Ranjit Sinha has said in his affidavit, has not been shared with anybody.

"Even in their second report the CBI is pointing to massive irregularities and illegalities in coal block allocation and they are very clear in their perception of the entire issue," said the Bench while seeking to know who represented the Coal Ministry.

As Attorney General G E Vahanvati stood for the ministry, the court pointed out that the CBI has complained against non-cooperation by the ministry in its probe.

Citing the status report, the court noted that the CBI had repeatedly written to the ministry, seeking details of mechanism of coal block allocations, scrutinising the eligibility criteria of the applicants and the officers involved in examining such applications. "CBI says that after repeated reminders, a reply has been received from the Coal Ministry but that is not in conformity with the requisition of the CBI and the crucial information about examining the claims of an applicant company remains unanswered," said the Bench.

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