After 16 FIRs, CBI finally files first chargesheet in 'coalgate' affair

After having filed at least 16 first information reports (FIRs) in cases related to allegedly irregular allocation of coal-mining blocks to private companies, the Central Bureau of Investigation today finally filed the first actual charge sheet in this regard.

The first salvo in what has become known as the 'coalgate scam' has been fired at Navbharat Pvt Ltd and its two directors, accusing them of cheating and conspiracy. The chargesheet says that Navabharat, along with other companies, misrepresented facts to get a coal block allocation.

During the last hearing on 11 February, the Supreme Court had asked CBI to submit a status report about the filing of chargesheets in six of the cases finalised by the agency.

The 16 FIRs filed name among others AMR Iron and Steel, JLD Yavatmal Energy, Vini Iron and Steel Udyog, JAS Infrastructure Capital Pvt Ltd, Grace Industries, Jindal Steel and Power, Rathi Steel and Power Ltd, Jharkhand Ispat, Green Infrastructure, Kamal Sponge, Pushp Steel, Hindalco, BLA Industries, Castron Technologies and Castron Mining and Nav Bharat Power Pvt Ltd.

These FIRs were registered after the agency probed three preliminary enquiries related to coal block allocation between 2006 and 2009, 1993 and 2004 and projects given under a government scheme.

In its earlier status report before the Supreme Court, CBI had said inquiries in respect of 87 companies had been finalised besides probe in respect of 38 companies had been concluded.

According to the Comptroller & Auditor General of India, an estimated loss of Rs1.86 lakh crore was caused to the exchequer in the coal block allocation scam.