CBI to probe missing coal files

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday registered two inquiries to probe how certain crucial files related to coal block allocation went missing from the Coal Ministry after the latter asked the agency to treat its letter about untraceable files as a complaint.

While one of the preliminary enquiries will deal with the missing documents during the period 1993-2005, the other will look into the untraceable files between 2006-09 when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was the heading the Coal Ministry.

The agency has started investigations.

 The CBI had on Wednesday received a letter from the ministry giving details about the missing files and documents and urged that the letter be considered as a complaint.

Following this, the CBI registered two inquiries against unknown persons. The agency will question officials in this regard.

The decision to file a case was taken after a meeting between officials from the CBI and the ministry during which they reconciled on the 15 to 18 files required by the investigating agency but were missing.

The CBI decided to proceed with the preliminary inquiry as there was not enough material to register an FIR.

During the analysis of documents and interactions with the Coal Ministry officials, the CBI found that some crucial files were missing.

The untraced documents included the minutes of the 26th screening committee, a letter sent by Jharkhand Ispat Pvt Ltd, the presentation made by Rathi Steel and Power,  and applications and annexure of S P S Sponge Iron Ltd for Radhikapur East Coal Block.

Sources also said the letter written by Congress MP Vijay Darda recommending a company could not be traced.

The Coal Ministry officials are maintaining that 98 per cent of the documents and files sought by the CBI have been provided.

The ministry on Monday sent a tranche of documents along with the list of files and records which have been traced.

The preliminary analysis by the CBI had revealed that the ministry has not provided all the files sought by the agency.

The agency had earlier listed at least 150 files and documents as required from the ministry. The Supreme Court had instructed the Coal Ministry to provide all files in connection with the allocations.

The missing files are crucial in the investigations for the CBI which has registered 13 cases related to coal allocations during 2006-09 for alleged misrepresentation of facts by the beneficiaries.

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