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CBI starts verifying complaint of coal block scam

New Delhi: The CBI has started verifying the allegations of irregularities in the allocation of coal blocks to private companies between 2006 and 2009 and their misuse by them.

The agency received from the Central Vigilance Commission the complaint of BJP leaders Prakash Javadekar and Hansraj Ahir who had alleged that first-come-first-serve basis was adopted by the government to benefit some private companies.

CBI sources said the complaint that has been received has general allegations in which names or individual companies are not mentioned. "We are happy that CVC has taken cognisance of our complaint. The CVC has written to us saying your complaints have been duly examined in the Commission having regard to the issues raised therein and the same has been forwarded to the CBI for a preliminary inquiry," Javadekar, who was accompanied by Ahir, told reporters.

The complaint also alleges that there was a delay of nearly two years in auctioning process and claims that the ministry had done so to benefit some private players. The complaint also alleged that allocation of blocks to 156 companies was not proper as they had handed over operations to other companies at a premium. It is also alleged the allottees of coal blocks did not start production themselves and outsourced the operation to third parties at a premium and pocketing the benefit.

In his complaint, Ahir had alleged that the price of 1,700 crore metric tonne of coal worth Rs 51 lakh crore was given almost free to private companies.

In a statement last year, the BJP had alleged revealed that 51 companies were allotted coal blocks in 2006, 19 companies in 2007, 41 companies in 2008 and 32 companies in 2009, at a rate of Rs 50 per metric tonne.

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