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Was diversion of coal by pvt firms probed, SC asks CBI

The Supreme Court on Monday asked CBI to apprise it whether it has probed the firms which have allegedly diverted coal for commercial exploitation instead of using them for electricity generation in Ultra Mega Power Projects (UMPPs).

"File a report on this also and update us as to whether any probe in this aspect has been carried out," a three-judge bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and A K Sikri said.

It also asked senior advocate Amrendra Sharan, appearing for CBI, to inform the bench about the probe, if any, conducted into alleged sub-leasing of coal blocks by public sector undertakings (PSUs) to private firms by entering into a joint ventures (JVs). The court's directions came after lawyer Prashant Bhushan, appearing for NGO 'Common Cause', raised the issue of alleged diversion of coal by Reliance Power for commercial exploitation. The coal block, meant for company's Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project, was used for other purposes and even CAG has said that this diversion has caused Rs 29,000 crore loss to the state exchequer, he said.

Even the bidding process of coal blocks for such projects is different as it is linked to lowest power price offered by the firms, he said.
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