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CBI to file 14 more FIRs in coal block allocation scam

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is going to register 14 more first information reports (FIRs) in the coal scam within a month. CBI had conducted preliminary inquiries in these cases and these were later referred to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), under the Supreme Court’s instructions.

There was a difference of opinion between the investigating officer and senior CBI officials over evidence of criminality in the allocation of 64 coal blocks. CVC’s opinion was sought in all these cases. The Commission felt CBI had enough material to register cases in several of these.

The agency had registered 20 cases in the scam so far. Of these, it has closed four and filed chargesheets in two.

The agency is also preparing to register more chargesheets in the case against the former coal secretary, former Jharkhand Chief Secretary A K Basu and others. So far, there hasn’t been any chargesheet against any bureaucrat in the scam.

Basu had allegedly influenced the allocation to Vini Iron and Steel Udyog, against which an FIR was registered on September 4, 2012. CBI had alleged to “embellish its claim for allocation of coal block”, “fraudulently” claimed they were having the required net worth to get the mines.

The overall investigation in the case is also not close to completion. In the previous hearing on its probe status in the scam, the apex court had said it was not satisfied with the slow progress. It reminded CBI that it had promised to complete the task last December. However, it is still asking for extension of time. CBI counsel Amarendra Saran had replied that voluminous evidence had to be examined. He cited weak staff strength to sift through 100,000 pages of documents as a reason for the delay .

Some of the high profile cases still to be denied, include the Kumar Mangalam Birla FIR and Congress leader Naveen Jindal’s case where former minister of state for coal, Dasari Narayan Rao, is an accused. CBI has been seeking more time from the Supreme Court to wrap up these cases.

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