Acting on a Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) reference,the CBI has decided to expand its probe into the alleged irregularities in coal blocks allotment to include all allotments made since 1993.
The ongoing CBI probe was restricted to allotments during 2006-09. CBI officials said the agency would soon register a preliminary enquiry (PE) on the CVC reference received Monday,and question government officials and private firms which got coal blocks.
Last week,Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal wrote to the CVC seeking a CBI probe into all coal blocks allotted since 1993 when the government began allotting blocks to private players for captive use.
Jaiswal also recently forwarded a letter written by seven MPs to the CVC saying blocks allotted between 1993 and 2004 should be investigated by the CBI as favours were allegedly done to private parties under political pressure.
The MPs letter also sought an inquiry into the system put in place to select companies for allotment between 1993 and 2004 and whether these guidelines were followed. The CVC Monday referred the complaints to the CBI.
The allotment of coal blocks for captive use started in 1993 to attract private investments in power,cement and steel to help a growing economy.
Till March 2011,the Ministry of Coal has allocated 194 coal blocks for captive mining of which 142 were explored blocks, the CAG said in its report on the allotments.