The government is likely to give an explanation to the Supreme Court today on missing files related to the allocation of coal mining blocks to private parties at throwaway prices at a huge loss to the government – the scandal known as ‘coal-gate’.

The coal ministry’s affidavit to the court is also likely to give an account of how many times a special government panel met to decide on coal allocations – amid allegations that precious coal blocks were given out arbitrarily, in violation of standard procedure, to benefit powerful private parties and companies linked to Congress leaders.

In July, the court had asked the Centre to file an affidavit supported by documents, records and minutes of meetings held on coal allocations, including 36 steering committee meetings.

As the government faces the top court, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh may speak in Parliament, as part of a carefully worked out compromise between the government and Opposition.

The PM’s promised ‘intervention’ on the missing files last week was stalled by protests over the creation of a Telangana state by Andhra Pradesh MPs.

The Opposition has been demanding a statement from the Prime Minister on how the files that the CBI wanted for its probe into coal-gate went missing. They allege that some of the missing files are from the period the PM himself was in charge of the coal ministry, and some companies linked to Congress leaders allegedly bagged coal blocks.

On Friday, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal told Rajya Sabha that only seven coal files wanted by the CBI were missing. This is vastly different from the CBI’s assertion, that it was waiting for 225 files to follow up on its 13 FIRs – or police complaints – filed in the case.

Mr Jaiswal said 769 files, documents and papers, amounting to a total of 1,50,000 pages, have been handed over to the CBI, along with 26 CDs.

Courtesy: NDTV