RANCHI (TIP): The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has sought Jharkhand governor’s permission to probe the role of some bureaucrats, including former chief secretary AK Basu, for their alleged role in irregularities in allotment of coal blocks. The agency has sought to interrogate Basu, who retired in 2009, for illegal allocation of a coal block to Vini Iron and Steel Udyog in 2008.

Sources in CBI said Basu made the recommendation for allotment of the block to Vini during his tenure when Madhu Koda was the chief minister and the company was promoted by some of his close associates. “The name of Vini Iron and Steel was not recommended initially. It was only after the company was acquired by close aides of Koda that a recommendation was made and it was allotted Rajhara coal block, which has an estimated reserve of 17.09 million tonnes.

The change in ownership coincided with the change in the government’s view and it was also reflected in the recommendation made by the chief secretary,” said the source. He said the developments which took place during 2008-09 raised suspicions about the role of the government officials in the scam. “The company had showed its net worth to be over Rs 850 crore in its application to acquire the block. Actually, it was not more than Rs 70 crore,” said the source. State officials declined to comment.

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