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Coal scam investigations marked by corruption: Anonymous complaint from within CBI

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:50 IST

An anonymous complaint signed by "Honest IOs, CBI" to Anil Sinha, director of the CBI, has alleged several cases of corruption within the agency with regard to the coal scam investigation. It was sent to Sinha in late March.

The complaint speaks of "huge amounts" of money having "exchanged hands", "corrupt" senior officers leading some investigations, and pressure on IOs (investigating officers) to "weaken" cases where payoffs have been made.

It cites a case which the CBI first had reported closed to the Supreme Court, but was later re-opened when the director of the company under investigation refused to pay a bribe, according to The Indian Express.

Though a CBI spokesperson said: "As per directions of the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India, the CBI is not in a position to share any information relating to inquiry/investigation in coal cases", sources within the agency said that the three-page complaint lists 24 specific cases with details that are not in the public domain, and that Sinha has taken cognisance of it.

Other sources say the letter was written by at least one IO with "first-hand experience" of his allegations.

The letter says: "Huge amounts have exchanged hands in name of DCBI (Director, CBI) and a few selective officers are beneficiaries. These officers are intimidating other officers not to speak the truth in court."

The coal scam investigations relate to recommendations of coal block allocation by the 35th Screening Committee in 2007 which allocated 15 coal blocks to 30 companies.

Allegations in the complaint

- After a closure report was submitted in the Supreme Court in one case, a regular case (RC) was registered a month later in the same case based on the same facts after the company's director refused to pay a bribe.

- In another case, even after the CBI Director (DCBI) approved the registration of a RC, that approval was later changed and the matter closed with the same facts.

- Seven cases were closed selectively by not using the experts' report on net worth, while the same report was used to register cases against others.

- RCs were not registered in at least seven cases despite the companies' misrepresentation on availability of land.

- In seven cases, RCs were not registered in spite of misrepresentation on preparedness, though the CBI has filed chargesheets in other cases on the same grounds.

- One case has been closed in spite of misrepresentation of financial competence, net worth, land and existing capacity.

- Public servants were prosecuted in some cases for not verifying the claims of a company. However, in some other cases, when a company was to be 'helped', public servants were not prosecuted because that "saves everybody from the Prevention of Corruption Act."

- When IOs recommended prosecution of public servants against the orders of their seniors, they were threatened with departmental proceedings.

First published: 2 May 2016, 7:09 IST