Coalgate: Former babus on CBI radar
By Tarun Nangia / ENS | Published: 13th September 2012 08:19 AM |
The CBI has now turned its attention to former bureaucrats who rendered consultancy services to private companies to ride over ‘hindrances’ that may have come about between companies that were being allotted coal blocks.
It may be recalled that many firms that were allegedly ineligible have been allotted coal blocks and the CBI has filed cases against five such companies.
The CBI is probing the bureaucrat-businessman-politico nexus, which helped several companies get coal blocks. Many former bureaucrats, with their knowledge of ‘working the system’ may have helped these firms obtain the allocations.
Former power secretary R V Shahi is a glaring example of a high-profile bureaucrat being employed by a private firm to push its interests. Shahi is, at present, an independent director on the board of Jindal Iron and Steel and Jindal Stainless. It may be recalled that between 2002 and 2007 — during Shahi’s tenure as power secretary — Jindal Iron and Steel was allotted coal blocks in Chattisgarh and Odisha and Jindal Stainless was given coal blocks in Odisha.
Close on the heels of Shahi is former bureaucrat N C Jha. He currently works as CEO (mining) for Monnet Energy and Ispat Limited. The company is a manufacturer of sponge iron and uses coal to fuel its plants. Before taking up a job with the firm, Jha was the Chairman of Coal India Limited in 2011, a state-controlled coal mining company. He was also its technical director from 2007 to January 2012.
P P Sharma was the chief secretary of Jharkhand from December 2004 to January 2006 and from August 2007 to March 2008, following which he joined the Abhijeet Group that is engaged in mining and owns power projects.
Abhijeet Group was allotted five coal blocks in Jharkhand when Sharma was chief secretary of the State. The chief secretary is part of the screening committee and the State government’s permission is vital for any allocation, since the land is a state subject.