GUWAHATI, Feb 28 � Major scams involving huge amounts of money in allotment and distribution of coal at subsidized rates through the State Governments by the Coal India Limited have come to light. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has already submitted the charge sheet of one such case in Nagaland, while, another case in Assam is under investigation.
Head of the Guwahati branch of the CBI, H Nath told The Assam Tribune that the Coal India Limited supplies coal to the marginal users at subsidized rates through the state governments. The state governments usually notify an agency for the distribution of coal to the marginal users by lifting the same from the Coal India. But the CBI investigated two major cases of irregularities in this regard and filed the charge sheet of one such case, while, the other is being probed into.
In one incident, a whole rake load of coal lifted from the coal fields of Mergherita was sent to Punjab instead of sending the same to Nagaland and the CBI, during investigation, found involvement of even Railway officials in the scam. Nath said that the rake was loaded in Margherita and it was to be unloaded in Lakwa to be sent to Nagaland. Interestingly, the coal was not unloaded in Lakwa and the same rake was sent to Punjab only by changing the tags of the coaches. Thus, the coal to be received by marginal users in Nagaland in subsidized rates, was sold in Punjab in open market. According to the charge sheet, the total loss of the Coal India in the case was around Rs 43 lakh.
Meanwhile, CBI sources said that the persons charge sheeted in the case include four railway officials � Md Sayedur Rahman, Deputy station Superintendent of Nakachari Railway station, Mohan Chandra Das, Chief Goods Supervisor of Lakwa station, Digendra Nath Gogoi, deputy station superintendent of Sapekhati station and KC Nath, Chief Goods supervisor of Tinsukia. Sources said that without the connivance of the Railway officers, it would not have been possible for the traders to send the rake load of coal to Punjab instead of sending the same to Nagaland.
Two other persons�V Matriksu, director of the Seikedima Multipurpose cooperative society of Dimapur and one Naveen Singhal of Mahalakhsmi Continental were also charge sheeted in the case.
CBI sources said that a similar kind of case is under investigation in Assam and officers of Coal India Limited are also under investigation in the case.
Giving details of the case, sources said that the Assam Government has appointed the Assam Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (AIIDC) as the nodal agency for making allotment of coal to the marginal users of the state. The AIIDC appointed the Mahalakhsmi Contimental owned by Naveen Singhal as the handling agent, but person appointed a sub agent to carry out the actual job.
Sources said that there have been allegation that instead of providing coal to the marginal users at subsidized rate, the same was sold in the open market, where the price is almost double. However, it is still premature to assess the amount of loss incurred by the Coal India in this regard.
During investigation, the CBI raided the residence of Singhal and recovered cash amounting to Rs 47 lakh and 15,000 US Dollars. The Enforcement Directorate has also registered a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in this regard.
The CBI is also investigating a case of a cement factory lifting coal at subsidized rate and using the same elsewhere and it is believed that the total loss to the Coal India in the case would be to the tune of at least Rs 10 crore.