Coalgate: CBI allowed to quiz former coal secretary HC Gupta

The government, which was initially unwilling to allow the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to question former coal secretary H C Gupta in connection with the coal blocks allocation scam, finally decided to allow the investigating agency to quiz him.

The government had earlier turned down CBI's request to probe the role of Gupta, currently a member of the Competition Commission of India, in the coal blocks allocation scam.

The ministry of corporate affairs has now given the go ahead to the agency to quiz Gupta.

Gupta was the secretary to the coal ministry between 2006 and 2009, the period when the coal blocks were allocated.

The CBI yesterday filed a fresh FIR against Congress MP Naveen Jindal and former minister of state for coal Dasari Narayan Rao accusing them of cheating and graft in the allocation of coal blocks.

The CBI, which registered its 12th FIR in the coal block allocation scam probe, said it carried out searches at 15 locations, including residence and offices of Jindal in the national capital and Rao in Hyderabad.

The CBI team carried out coordinated searches at the 6-Prithviraj Road residence of Jindal and offices of his firms in Bikaji Cama place.

Besides Jindal and Rao, CBI has also filed charges against companies including Jindal Steel and Power Limited and Gagan Sponge, which were allotted Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in Birbhum, Jharkhand in the year 2008.

CBI also booked Jindal's companies, Jindal Realty and ND Exim and Rao's company Saubhagya Media.