The CBI has set up 14 teams for detailed investigations into possible criminal misconduct in the allocation of 64 coal blocks during 2006-09,and allegations of their misuse by allottees.
Sources said the blocks under the scanner include those in which allottees have not met any credible milestone. The coal ministry has issued show-cause notices threatening de-allocation to Hindalco,Bhushan Steel,Monnet Ispat,Lafarge,ArcelorMittal,Reliance Energy,DB Power,Lanco,JSW and Jindal Steel and Power.
The CBI registered a preliminary enquiry last week after the Central Vigilance Commission gave the go-ahead for an investigation into allocation of coal blocks following serious apprehensions of irregularities expressed by BJP leaders Prakash Javadekar and Hansraj Ahir. The probe covers the period during which PM Manmohan Singh was in charge of the coal ministry.
The CBI teams will fan out to project sites of all 64 blocks and offices of allottees this week. The teams will tour the blocks and the project sites to check the veracity of claims made by the companies on investments with the reality on the ground. They are also likely to probe allegations of diversion of coal, said a highly-placed source.
Initial findings are likely to be submitted to the CVC within 12-14 weeks, the source said.
Reliance Energy,Jindal Steel & Power and Monnet Ispat declined to comment. ArcelorMittal did not reply to e-mailed queries.