A signboard pointing to the Agarwala residence in Dhanbad on Wednesday. Picture by Gautam Dey
Dhanbad, Jan. 8: A CBI team from Delhi conducted searches today at the Dhanbad residence of the owners of Castron Mining that was allocated the Bramhandiha coal block in Giridih in 1996.
The raid was conducted after the CBI registered two fresh cases against the company and BLA Industries and its MD, in connection with alleged irregularities in allocation of coal blocks during 1993-2004.
As soon as the CBI officers reached Dhanbad around 7am, they went to the house of Mahendra Agarwala and Devendra Kumar Agarwala, the owners of Castron Mining, at Chanchani Colony in Dhanbad.
The team, which was there till 3pm, is understood to have gone through various documents pertaining to the coal block allocation. But the officers refused to divulge details.
Devendra and Mahendra are younger brothers of former Rajya Sabha MP from Dhanbad, the late Parmeshwar Agarwala.
Today, the CBI also conducted simultaneous raids at Narsinghpur (Madhya Pradesh), Mumbai and Calcutta in connection with allocations.
While the scanner is on all the undeserving companies that bagged coal blocks, sources said BLA was allegedly permitted to sell the coal in the open market against the principle of captive mining.
On September 13, 2012, an inter-ministerial group (IMG) recommended de-allocation of coal blocks awarded to Castron Mining at Bramhandiha in Giridih in 1996 for failing to develop the mines and meet production timelines.
The IMG had also recommended de-allocation of three other coal blocks, including Lalgarh (North Block) to Domco Smokeless Fuels Pvt Ltd in 2005 and Chinchora and Warora in Maharashtra to Field Mining and Ispat Ltd in 2003.
In 2001, the Union coal ministry served notices to the Calcutta-based Castron Mining, which had changed its name from Castron Tech in 2003, for doing nothing with its mining lease meant to feed an iron and steel project.
Dhanbad CBI P.K. Maji refused to comment, saying they weren’t involved in today’s raids.
On September 4, 2012, a CBI team raided five places across the district, including the office, hard coke unit and coal washery of Auroma Coke Ltd, a private company engaged in low ash metallurgical coke, at GT Road and Shanti Bhavan on Bank More.
The team also searched the Chanchani Colony residence of the company’s chairman, Vimal Tulsyan, and the Katras home of Hemant Rajgarhia, who was a partner of Vaibhav Tulsyan, son of Vimal Tulsyan.
The two owned Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd, which was allocated a coal block at Rajhara (North Block) of Daltonganj in 2010.