Coalgate: CBI files 11th FIR; raids Chhattisgarh firm

The Central Bureau of Investigation has registered another case in relation to the coal block allocation scandal, this time against Chhattisgarh-based Pushp Steel and Mines Ltd.

The CBI has charged the company and several of its directors, including Atul Jain and Sanjay Jain, in the new FIR with misrepresentation of facts while applying for coal blocks. This takes the total number of cases in the coal block allocation imbroglio to 11.

The agency carried out searches at 11 locations across the country after filing the FIR, including the offices and premises of the company and its directors Raipur, Chhattisgarh, Narwana in Haryana, and Ajmeri Gate and Punjabi Bagh localities in Delhi.

It was alleged in the FIR that the company got mining lease on the basis of recommendation from the Chhattisgarh government despite having no experience and lacking enough capital required for starting mining operations, according to PTI.

Last year, the Central Vigilance Commission had entrusted the CBI with the probe into a complaint filed by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Prakash Javadekar alleging irregularities in the allotment of coal mines for captive use.

Following the complaint, MPs of the Congress also filed complaints into coal block allocation during the National Democratic Alliance government's tenure.

Based on these complaints, CBI had registered three preliminary enquiries - to probe alleged irregularities in coal block allocation to private companies between 2006 and 2009, allocation of the blocks between 1993 and 2004 and allocation of coal blocks to joint venture companies which included a private player.

The FIRs registered by the agency have arisen from the first preliminary enquiry which focuses on the allotments made between 2006 and 2009.

Last August, Comptroller and Auditor General had said that 142 coal fields allocated between 2004 and 2009 allowed beneficiaries to make staggering benefits of up to Rs1.86 lakh crore as mining rights were given at undervalued rates instead of using auction route.