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Coalgate: CBI knocks at NDA door, BJP leader named in FIR

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered two fresh FIRs on Wednesday in connection with alleged irregularities in allocation of coal blocks during 1993-2005. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Anup Agarwalla and his firm have been named in one of the two FIRs, making it the first case of an opposition party member being named in the scam.

The agency registered two FIRs – one against BLA Industries Ltd, its managing director Anup Agarwalla and unknown public servants and private persons and second against M/s Castron Technologies, M/s Castron Mining, their directors, unknown public servants and private persons.

Anup Agarwalla, son of former Rajya Sabha MP P  Agarwalla, is a permanent invitee to Jharkhand State Working Committee of BJP and special invitee to party’s national executive.

The CBI has alleged in its FIR that BLA Industries, which has its registered office in Mumbai, got two coal blocks in Madhya Pradesh and was selling coal in the open market. Officials said that the worth of coal being sold in open market was at least Rs 100 crore annually. Officials said that the company had been allocated two coal blocks – Gotitoria (East) and Gotitoria (West) in Mahapani coalfields of Madhya Pradesh – for use in power plant to be set up by them.

The CBI alleged that the company entered into an alleged criminal conspiracy with unknown public officials of coal ministry and changed its end-use. Officials said that they later got the permission to sell the coal from the fields in open market from the ministry.

The firm had got coal blocks on 21 June, 1996, during the tenure of former prime minister HD Deve Gowda.

In its second FIR naming Kolkata-based Castron Mining and Jharkhand-based Castron Technologies, its directors, unknown public servants and private persons, CBI alleged the coal block was allocated in violation of existing guidelines.

Castron Mining Ltd (formerly Castron Technologies Ltd) has got Brahmadiha coal blocks under Giridih coalfields of Jharkhand for use in manufacturing of Iron and Steel. The coal block was allocated on 1 September 1999 during the BJP government’s tenure.

Officials said that the coal block in Jharkhand was allegedly allocated though this did not fit into prescribed norms and extant guidelines for allocation of coal blocks for captive end use.

‘It has been alleged that the private company, in conspiracy with public servants, managed to get the coal block with no clear cut end use project,’ a CBI release said.

With this, CBI has so far registered 16 FIRs and three preliminary enquiries in coal blocks allocation scam.

A preliminary enquiry to examine the alleged irregularities in allocation of coal blocks during 1993-2005 was registered on reference from Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) in September, 2012. These are the first two cases in that preliminary enquiry.

The CBI also conducted searches at nine locations in Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Dhanbad, Bhopal and Narsinghpur (Madhya Pradesh).

Officials said that CBI officials have also found documents relating to transportation of coal for sale in open market and further probe in the case was continuing.
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