Coalgate: CBI dispatches teams to Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand

New Delhi: CBI has dispatched its teams to Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand to probe alleged beneficiary companies in the controversial coal block allocation. CBI teams have reached the two states in connection with probe into alleged irregularities in coal block allocation and utilisation, sources in the central agency said.

When contacted, a CBI spokesperson clarified that no raids were taking place and the teams are there as part of the agency`s ongoing preliminary enquiry (PE) into the alleged coal scam.

The agency, which has registered a PE after Central Vigilance Commission referred to it the case of alleged irregularities in coal block allocation and utilisation, is likely to register more than one case.

At least 10 companies, which benefited from the coal block allocation, are under CBI scanner for alleged violation of norms, they said. The sources added that the agency is likely to register cases in different lots with nearly eight companies which could be booked in the first batch.

The agency has already questioned senior bureaucrats who were overseeing allocation of coal blocks during 2006-09, they said. A CBI team led by a senior official recently visited Coal Ministry to meet a senior woman bureaucrat, they said.

Meanwhile, the agency is also taking into cognisance the Comptroller and Auditor General report on alleged coal block scam which was tabled in Parliament recently.

The sources, however, made it clear that CBI would not be going into policy issues but will limit its role to aspects where criminality could be established. The agency has also questioned members of screening committee including Secretaries and Joint Secretary in the Ministry, they said.

The sources said the questioning of the Coal Secretaries, who also chair the screening committee, was done to understand the issues involved in the allocation of coal blocks during the period and so far, agency has not found any irregularity on their part.