The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Tuesday modified its decision allowing the States to grant mining leases for coal blocks to companies if they face no CBI probe.
The modification has come after the Supreme Court refused to split the coal blocks into two categories: those where no case has been registered and those where the CBI is conducting a probe. “The CCEA has modified its earlier direction… in view of the pending litigation and investigations by the CBI,” official sources said after the meeting.
Attorney-General G.E. Vahanvati briefed the government of the court’s stand.
Now the States are understood to have been advised to wait for the court’s order and the outcome of the proceedings of the Inter-Ministerial Group, which has served show-cause notices on private firms in respect of 61 coal mines.
The States have indicated that they will rather wait for the judicial verdict before granting leases. On January 14, the Centre directed the States to take steps for executing the leases, making it clear that this would be subject to the court’s final order and without prejudice to the CBI probe.
Coal Ministry notice
The Coal Ministry served notice on the coal block allocates, asking them to obtain an order from the States that leases would be executed within three weeks of January 14, or the allocations would be cancelled within a week thereafter.