With many crucial files, or parts of them, pertaining to the controversial coal blocks allotment still untraceable, the Ministry of Coal has asked the CBI to “initiate appropriate inquiry/ investigation” into the matter. CBI sources said that following the ministry’s communique, an FIR will be registered in the matter “soon”.
In a letter sent to the CBI Monday, S K Shahi, Director, Ministry of Coal, while providing details of the documents, including file notings, minutes of meetings, presentations etc, that continue to be untraceable, asked the CBI to proceed in the matter as per the Supreme Court’s order.
Coal ministry sources told The Indian Express that since many crucial documents, some of which relate to questionable allocation of coal blocks, continue to remain untraceable, with many feared destroyed, the ministry is reconciled to the idea of a fresh case being registered by the investigating agency to probe the disappearance of the files.
Confirming that the agency has received the letter from the coal ministry, CBI director Ranjit Sinha said, “We are taking stock of the files and examining how many of them have been traced and how many are still missing.”
Among the documents that the coal ministry has been unable to locate is one related to the minutes of the meeting of the 26th screening committee. The ministry has informed the CBI that efforts to locate the “final minutes” from other departments and PSUs like the Ministry of Steel, Coal India Limited, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Central Mines Planning and Design Institute Limited etc, have not borne any results as these departments and PSUs have said that only “draft” minutes of the meetings are available with them.
On August 29, the Supreme Court had directed the CBI to give a list of documents, files and information sought by it within five days to the coal ministry, which, in turn, was ordered to furnish them within two weeks.
On September 2, the CBI had sent a list of files pertaining to allocation of over 50 coal blocks to Attorney General G E Vahanvati, who forwarded the list to the coal ministry.
Along with his letter to the CBI