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CVC wants to know if Coalgate began in 1993

In a tit-for-tat of sorts which looks directed at previous governments, the Central Bureau of Investigation [CBI] was asked to probe the coal blocks allotted since 1993, which will include the investigation into the ones allocated during the National Democratic Alliance government.

The move was made on Monday after the Central Vigilance Commission [CVC] asked the CBI – which is probing coal block allocations made during 2006-09 – to extend its investigations to cover all allocations since 1993. 'The CVC asked that the agency investigate the system adopted by the state governments during allocation of coal blocks. The criteria and selected guidelines followed during the allocation must be probed,' a source said.

The CBI was also asked to find out the system put in place for selection of companies for coal block allocation between 1993 to 2006, whether these guidelines were followed and how joint venture partners were selected.

A preliminary enquiry to examine the irregularities, if any, in the allocation of coal blocks by the coal ministry during 2006-09 was initiated on a reference from the CVC in June.

The Comptroller and Auditor General has, in a recent report, estimated undue benefits to the tune of Rs 1.86 lakh crore to private firms due to allocation of coal blocks without auction.
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