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Indian investigators probe five firms over coal scandal after nationwide raids

NEW DELHI -- India's top criminal investigation agency on Tuesday opened a probe against five coal companies after raiding premises across the country over the alleged misallocation of lucrative mining rights.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) spokeswoman Dharini Mishra said that 30 premises had been visited as detectives examined whether coal companies were guilty of cheating in a scandal that has rocked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

“We have registered an FIR (First Information Report) after conducting raids in 10 cities,” Mishra told AFP, adding that coal company offices in New Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata had been targeted.

An FIR is a written report detailing an alleged crime, triggering an investigation. Mishra declined to name the companies involved.

The CBI will probe whether some of the firms were set up only to get the coal blocks allocated by the government, and then sold them on at massive profits.

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