Just before the Lok Sabha elections, trouble might be brewing for Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in a two-decade old coal block allocation case.
On Monday, an impleadment application was filed in the Supreme Court seeking expediting the CBI investigation in a coal block allocation case in which an inquiry was pending against Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. The case was registered five years ago. In this connection, Patnaik was also interrogated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on November 25, 2017.
The CBI is investigating into the allocation of captive coalfields between 1993 and 2010, as part of Supreme Court-monitored probe. The case was registered on March 26, 2014, related to forgery, criminal breach of trust and selling of coal in the open market against the concept of captive allocation of coal mines for a specified end-use product. The application in the court sought direction to the CBI to present the entire file noting in the case to ascertain the reasons for the delay in finalization of the case.
As per the petition filed by Vaibhav Verma, MS Central collieries Co Ltd & Ors (Nagpur) was awarded the Takli-Jena-Bellora coalfield in Maharashtra in 1998, even before its registration. Naveen Patnaik was the then Union Minister of Mines thus making his role questionable. The CBI has already interrogated Naveen on the issue and thus, there’s no reason to delay the case, the plea said, adding: “Patnaik has already been interrogated by the CBI in November.2017. That after interrogation of Patnaik, there is no reason for delay; however as evident, again there is a delay of almost two years since his interrogation and the CBI is yet to complete its investigation and has failed to take any concrete steps despite the fact that Supreme Court is monitoring the coal block cases.”