NEW DELHI: Government has turned down a request of CBI to question former Coal Ministry secretary H C Gupta, at present a member of Competition Commission of India, in connection with the coal blocks allocation scam.

Highly-placed sources in CBI said the request was turned down by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs last week despite the agency reasoning out that his questioning was important as he was the Secretary between 2006 to 2009, a period which has come under the scanner.

The sources said CBI would be telling the court about the decision of the government for not allowing Gupta, a 1971 batch IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, to be questioned and take necessary directions.

Efforts to contact Gupta did not fructify and messages sent on his mobile remained unanswered.

CBI, which is probing the coal block allocation scam, has registered 11 FIRs related to alleged irregularities in the allotment coal blocks between 2006 and 2009.

During this period, 68 coal blocks were alloted to 151 companies and files of some of them had gone missing.

CBI has questioned former Union Ministers Santosh Bagrodia and D Narayan Rao and Congress MP in Rajya sabha MP Vijay Darda so far.

Bagrodia, a former minister of state, was questioned as he was part of the Coal Ministry in UPA-1 and the allegations are that during his stint he had been informed about alleged misrepresentations and concealments by Nagpur-based AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd (AMR) in its application form but let it through.

The alleged role of Bagrodia, a former Rajya Sabha member, was stated in an FIR filed by CBI on September 3, 2012. However, the FIR did not name Bagrodia as an accused.

Vijay Dadra was also quizzed by CBI besides another former Minister of State D Narayan Rao.

CBI has been raising the issue of missing files from the Coal Ministry which finally deputed a joint secretary-level official to provide the agency with the missing files related to the probe in the coal block allocation scam.

CBI had informed the Public Accounts Committee that nearly 40 files are still not with it.

The agency has booked Vinni Iron and Steel, Nav Bharat Steel, JLD Yavatmal, JAS Infrastructure and Power and AMR Iron and Steel, Vikash Metal and Power Ltd, Grace Industries Ltd, Green Infrastructure and Kamal Steel for alleged cheating, forgery and misrepresentation of facts in their applications for coal blocks.

CAG had pegged the loss to the exchequer due to allocation of the coal blocks to the tune of Rs 1.86 lakh crore.

Courtesy: The Economic Times

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