Widening the ambit of its probe in the coal scam, the CBI is now investigating violations of procedures and process being observed by the ministry of coal subsequent to the allocation of coal block. So far, the federal agency was only looking into alleged misrepresentation of facts by private companies in order to gain coal blocks.
Sources told dna that while investigating the coal block allocation scam, the agency came to know that the coal ministry and Coal India Limited went out of their way to sign Fuel Supply Agreements(FSA) with several private companies for selling coal at massive discount to market prices.
And, if the federal agency finds further evidence, it will register a fresh set of FIRs against officials of the ministry of coal and Coal India Limited and other private individuals for violating norms and conniving with private companies for signing fuel supply agreement.
In an official communication to the cabinet secretariat, coal secretary SK Srivastava has referred to the widening of the CBI probe. “The CBI has started investigating into issues not only related to allocation of coal blocks but also related to procedures and processes being observed by the ministry and the Coal India Limited subsequent to the allocation,” Srivastava wrote to Anil Swarup, additional secretary in cabinet secretariat, on August 20, 2013.
Sources further said that Coal India Limited signed pacts with more than 10 private companies even before they reached the qualifying norms such as acquiring land and setting up of required infrastructure.
“Yes, we have learnt that the coal ministry and the Coal India Limited violated norms and procedures to sell coal at discounted price by signing FSA with some private companies,” a senior CBI official told dna.
So far, the CBI has registered 13 separate cases against various private companies and individuals related to alleged irregularities in coal block allocations between 2006 and 2009. Besides, the agency is looking at the allocation of coal mines post-1993 to ascertain any wrongdoing during the NDA regime.