Coal Ministry asks Steel, Power Ministries to hunt missing files

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JAISWALNew Delhi, September 5; Amid political storm over missing files on coal block allocations, the Coal Ministry on Thursday asked other ministries including Steel and Power to constitute search teams to facilitate investigations into the issue.

It has even asked them to utilise “weekend holidays” for the purpose of locating files sought by CBI.

“The Union Coal Minister, Sriprakash Jaiswal on Thursday had the detailed review of availability of coal blocks allocation files in a meeting with senior officials of Ministries of Coal, Power, Steel Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion and Chairman of CIL and CMD of CMPDIL,” said an official statement.

“The Minister directed them to constitute teams…to locate the relevant documents/file at the earliest,” the statement added.

Mr. Jaiswal has asked them to “make all out efforts to locate these documents to facilitate the ongoing investigations” asking them that “the weekend holidays should be utilised for this purpose,” the statement added.

The matter will be reviewed again by the Coal Secretary S.K. Srivastava on September 10.

The Ministry has earlier constituted an Inter-Ministerial Committee, headed by Additional Secretary (Coal) to locate the documents requisitioned by CBI, which has so far held five meetings.

The statement said Coal Ministry has meanwhile constituted five search teams including those for Coal India Ltd, Kolkata and Delhi office and CMPDIL at Ranchi.

The development comes in the wake of the Supreme Court directing CBI on August 29 to furnish a comprehensive list of documents/files/information, which are yet to be received from the government.

The government had recently said in the Rajya Sabha that seven files, 173 applications and nine other documents pertaining to coal block allocations were not traceable and efforts were on to locate them.

The apex court had given two weeks time to the government to make available the requisitioned documents, the list of which has already been given to the Coal Ministry by the CBI on September 2 and 4.

The issue of missing files had created storm in Parliament with BJP seeking voluntary deposition of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh before CBI on the controversial coal block allocations amid demands by the opposition for immediate registration of an FIR in the missing files case.

Opposition members charged that the government has a “lot to hide” and the case may meet a “dead end” even after CAG earlier saying that the coal blocks allocation without auction could have resulted in a presumptive losses of Rs. 1.86 lakh crore.

The issue has figured prominently in both the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha during the ongoing Monsoon Session.

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