Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. PTI file photo
With the Opposition aggressively targeting the government on the issue of missing files relating to coal blocks allocation, top Congress leadership Wednesday discussed a counter-strategy at its Core Group meeting which was told that several files have been traced and only eight remained untraced.
At the meeting, attended by Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal is learnt to have given a detailed briefing on the issue of missing files.
The meeting, which was also attended by Law Minister Kapil Sibal, devised ways to counter the Opposition attack which is likely to continue in Parliament Thursday after Wednesday's holiday.
Jaiswal is understood to have said that 769 files and other documents, including application for coal blocks, had been given to national investigation agency, Central Bureau of Investigation, by the Coal Ministry soon after the investigating agency began its probe in May, sources said.
Subsequently, CBI on August 14 asked for more files and documents and it was found that 43 files and 176 applications were not there, the sources said.
Of these 43 files, 21 have been provided since then, the sources said, adding 14 are ready to be delivered.
Eight files are still untraceable, the sources said.
Of these, five files are of pre-June 2004 period and three relate to the period after 2004, they said.
On the 176 applications which could not be traced, the sources said most of them were those which had been rejected.
Three of them were subsequently located and given to CBI, they said.
Of the remaining 173 applications, 166 were those prior to June 2004 and seven post-2004.
However, the sources said, details of these applications are in the minutes of the Screening Committee which decided on allocations of coal blocks.
The Coal Ministry had set up an inter-ministerial committee on July 11 to look into the issue of missing files.