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CBI files fresh case against Hindalco

In a fresh blow to Aditya Birla group, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered a fresh case against Indalco (now known as Hindalco) and unknown public servants alleging unauthorized usage of coal in its Talabira-I coal block in Odisha and starting the mine without the required permission.

“Allegations are that the coal was used in unauthorised manner in the existing power plant whereas allocation was done for expanding the capacity of new power plant. Further, mining was started without mine opening permission,” CBI sources said here on Friday.

The agency further alleged that the public servants “facilitated” the unauthorized usage of coal by not taking any action despite being under the knowledge of the development.

The agency on Friday carried out search operations at four places including one in Mumbai and three places in Sambalpur, Odisha after registering the case, CBI sources said. The agency has seized incriminating documents during the search, sources said.

“As is known the CBI has been investigating coal block allocations made since 1993, under the monitoring of the Supreme Court.  With regard to allocation of 15 per cent share to Hindalco in Talabira II and III coal mine, the CBI has already filed their closure report,” the Aditya Birla group spokesperson said.

“In continuation with their investigation into 185 coal mines across industry, the CBI has now begun its investigation into Talabira I, a mine allocated in 1994 to the erstwhile Indal, which was later acquired by Hindalco.  In this connection, the CBI carried out searches in three of the company’s sites. Already, the Supreme Court has cancelled the allocation of 204 coal mines to all the respective companies.  The mines will be auctioned as announced by the ministry of coal,” the spokesperson further said.

The case relates to allocation of Talabira I coal block in Odisha in 1994. The company (then Indalco) was allotted Talabira I for 140 MW Central Power Plant (CPP) at Hirakud and 50 MW CPP at Raigarha.

The agency is already probing Hindalco’s Talabira-II coal block allocation in Odisha on a special court’s order. The agency is believed to have examined former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his former colleagues in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). Although the agency had closed the case, the special court had rejected it and asked for a fresh probe. The agency is scheduled to submit a status report on January 27 in the matter.

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