New Delhi, Aug. 28: Crucial files relating to the coal block allocations were deliberately made to disappear to derail the probe into the controversy, senior CBI officers have alleged.
“There seems to be a conspiracy behind it and we suspect that it was a deliberate act to derail the ongoing probe,” said a senior CBI officer, requesting anonymity.
The BJP has already targeted the government on the issue, alleging that the files were removed to shield high-level politicians and bureaucrats.
The CBI has filed FIRs against several private companies who were beneficiaries of alleged illegal allocation of coal blocks between 2005 and 2009. The agency is also probing allocations between 1993 and 2004 as part of a preliminary investigation. No FIR has been registered for this period.
“Some of the missing files are very important from the investigation point of view as they have the signatures of bureaucrats who had attended meetings with several private companies before allotting the coal blocks,” the officer added.
Yesterday, the government had virtually admitted in the Supreme Court that seven of the 40-odd files the CBI has sought in connection with the probe were not available with it. The Centre, however, said efforts were on to trace them.
The Central Vigilance Commission has called CBI director Ranjit Sinha to a meeting next week.
“The CVC has also asked us to submit the status report on the probe,” another CBI officer said.
On May 8, the apex court had hauled up the CBI, labelling it a “caged parrot”, for sharing a status report on the probe with then law minister Ashwani Kumar and joint secretaries in the Prime Minister’s Office and the coal ministry.
In its affidavit yesterday, the Centre said an inter-ministerial panel of senior officers had been formed to track down the seven files within a month.
The seven are among 43 files the CBI has sought.
“Of the 43 files, 21 have already been handed over to the CBI, 15 are available for handing over and (the) CBI has been requested to collect (them)…” the Centre had told the court, adding that efforts were “being made to locate” the remaining seven.