New Delhi: The CBI has zeroed in on nine private companies which were awarded lucrative coal contracts despite serious shortcomings. This at the behest of state governments and the Coal Ministry, what's more, the number of companies under the scanner could go upto to nearly 30.
It is the most politically sensitive case since the 2G Spectrum scam and loss wise, perhaps even bigger. According to the CBI coal mines have been sold for a pittance in a hurry between 2004 and 2009. Several mines have been allegedly sold to companies with almost no experience in the sector and in contravention to the rules and regulations.
Coal Ministry officials, state governments in Jharkhand, Odisha, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh and even the Screening Committee are allegedly hand in glove with the fly by night operators. The loot of black gold allegedly took place at a time when the Coal Ministry was directly under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Sources say despite delays in developing coal blocks, the Ministry and screening committee allotted more mines at a fast pace along with the State governments.
CNN-IBN has accessed details of how rules were bent to sell coal mines cheap.
Pushp Steel and Mining: The company has been granted the licence despite having no experience or money. The CBI is probing the role of bureaucrats. The date has been left blank in the application and the company has not file the Income Tax affidavit.
Vimmi Iron and Steel Udyog: The Coal blocks were allegedly allotted under influence of the then chief minister.
GVK Powers: The role of local administration and state government in recommending the company is being investigated.
Rungta Projects: The have been delays and no development.
DB Powers: The project is not ready and preparedness was not checked by the local government.
NSL Powers and Infratech Ltd: The company is not serious about developing the coal block. The role of local administration and company executives is being investigated.
Visa Power: The project has been delayed and the company was recommended on the basis of wrong information.
SKS Ispat: No initiative has been taken to develop the project.
Sources say this could be a drop in the ocean; nearly 30 companies in total may eventually have the CBI knocking on their doors.