Coalgate: CBI team searches 5 offices in AP

Private coal & steel firms quizzed

The coalgate crisis had its reverberations in Hyderabad as investigation teams from Delhi on Tuesday visited  offices at five locations here and inquired about a few private coal and steel companies with regard to allotment of coal blocks.

Sources in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said that these visits were totally informal and no notices were served or any officials quizzed on record about the controversial issue. On a day when CBI teams were fanning across 10 major cities across the country in connection with the alleged fraud in allocation of coal blocks, one of the CBI teams is reported to have questioned former Union Minister of State for Coal, Dasari Narayana Rao, at his Moinabad farmhouse here.

Even though there were unconfirmed reports of raids on the premises of GVK Power and NSL Power on Tuesday, spokespersons of both the firms. have denied any CBI teams visiting their offices.

The GVK group has a captive mine in Jharkhand and the NSL has two mines in Odisha and Chhattisgarh.

However, the veteran actor and director, Rao in a letter released to the press said that no one including the CBI questioned him on any issue on Tuesday. “There were reports in the electronic media that CBI sleuths have been questioning me on the coalgate issue. I would like to inform my fans and well wishers that nothing like that has happened,” he said.

Equally tight lipped were the local CBI officials. “Our responsibility is to provide logistics to the CBI teams and we have nothing to do with the details of their itinerary,” a senior officer said.

Rao, however, is believed to have said in private circles that though he participated in some of the coal auction meetings, “final decision was made by the PMO officials”.  “We only did the job of a postman,” Rao told some film journalists recently when asked to comment on the coalgate.

In the early stages of the exposure of irregularities in coal allocation,  BJP official spokesperson Prakash Javadekar had blamed it on Rao for the allocation of coal blocks and alleged that the veteran actor had mortgaged national interests. “Both the ministers of state had misled the prime minister and that, Narayan Rao had attended most of the meetings in which allocation of the coal blocks was finalised”.

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