Missing files with CBI: Coal Ministry

New Delhi, Aug 21 (IANS) In a Right to Information (RTI) Act reply early this year, the coal ministry had said that the files relating to all coal block allocations from 1994-2012 were with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The ministry's reply to the RTI querry filed by NGO Greenpeace in February is important as the government has been saying that some of the files before 2004 went missing.

According to Greenpeace, it had filed two RTIs on the issue and was told that the files were with the CBI, which is investigating the irregularities in the allocation of coal blocks.

"We got a response from P.S.S. Reddy, director appellate authority, coal ministry, saying that all the applications of the companies who have been allocated coal blocks along with annexures in original are in the custody of the CBI," said a statement issued by Greenpeace.

"Is the coal ministry lying about missing the coalgate files," Greenpeace questioned.

The government has been under attack over the missing files with the Bharatiya Janata Party claiming it to be an effort to save Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was the coal minister when the scam happened.

A preliminary inquiry to examine the irregularities in allocation of coal blocks during 2006-09 was registered by the CBI on reference of the Central Vigilance Committee in June 2012.

During the period under review, 204 coal blocks were allocated to state-run and private companies, 132 by the screening committee and 72 by the coal ministry. Out of that, licences for 40 blocks were cancelled.

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