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CBI clears 60 coal blocks

New Delhi, Jan. 12: The CBI is likely to inform the Supreme Court tomorrow that “no criminality” was involved in the allocation of around 60 coal blocks and seek its nod to take these blocks out of the purview of the ongoing investigation.

“We have analysed records in detail and concluded that there was no criminality involved in the allocation of around 60 coal blocks. But the final decision whether to take them out of the ongoing probe will be taken only after directives from the Supreme Court,” a source in the agency said.

The information will be part of the status report the agency plans to file tomorrow before the top court, which is monitoring the probe. There is also the possibility that the agency will ask the court to scrap the licences of some companies, based on its investigations.

The investigative agency is probing the allocation of 195 coal blocks and has so far registered 16 cases, including cheating, criminal misconduct and corruption in the allotment of around two dozen blocks.

In the case of the 60 blocks, however, agency sources said the allotments followed laid-down procedures and norms. The analysis was based on reports from state governments concerned, related ministries of the Union government, minutes of screening committee meetings and documents submitted by the beneficiary companies, the sources said.

“Some executives of these companies were also called and asked to explain all the pertinent questions raised by our investigators,” a CBI official said.

According to the official, the agency had found no evidence yet that showed criminality or any intentional act on the part of coal ministry officials to withhold from investigators files related to these nearly 60 blocks.

The agency has concluded investigations in nearly six cases and a final report could soon be filed before the competent court.

The Supreme Court had recently come down heavily on the CBI for its tardy probe into the alleged scam and asked the agency to “pick up some speed”.

“You (the CBI) have to pick up some speed. The pace of inquiry is not good. You are still driving in the first gearů,” the court had said.