The BJP was quick off the blocks in raising the ante against the reigning UPA government for their alleged involvement in a coal scam in which the government gave away coal worth Rs 10.67 lakh crore, but can they really complain?“The coal allotment scam is a major scam. We demand a CBI probe and a court should monitor the probe. It is a government of scamsters (that is) involved in knee-deep corruption,” BJP leader Prakash Javedkar told reporters outside Parliament .
“In 2006, the government introduced the Bill for auction of coal blocks…But the government did not pass
the Bill till 2010. 17 billion tonnes of coal reserve in 73 blocks were distributed to private companies. It is a huge scam. There are many cases where people have sold the licences,” he said.
However, among the beneficiaries of the largesse of the government, if we accept as truth the CAG draft report mentioned in the Times of India, include the mining corporations run by the states of Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh.
All three states are ruled by BJP governments and it would mean that they were the beneficiaries of receiving mining rights for land. They would have disposed off the coal blocks as seen fit and despite paying royalty to the central government should have made profits that were distributed in those states.
According the draft report, a major chunk of the windfall gains made by companies include government owned companies like National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and Minerals and Metals Trading Corporation (MMTC).
The report stated that around Rs 5 lakh crore was made by government run bodies or companies while the remainder was sopped up by private companies.
If coal has indeed been given away at a loss to the exchequer the government must answer for it, but whether any political party can take the moral high ground is debatable.