JSPL connived with ministry officials to mine excess coal, says CBI
New Delhi: The Coal Ministry officials had "connived" with the JSPL, headed by former Congress MP Naveen
Jindal, allowing it to "illegally" mine nearly three times more coal than permitted, claims a CBI probe into coal block allocation scam.
The agency, which has incorporated these details in the FIR in the case, has alleged that the Ministry officials in connivance with the company not only overlooked the excess mining but also regularised it.
The case relates to the ongoing probe of the CBI into the coal scam in which it had registered an FIR against the company alleging that instead of adhering to the rate of extraction of coal as provided in the approved Mine Plan, the company had resorted to "illegal excess mining".
In the FIR, which has now been accessed, the agency has alleged that according to data available "on record" while the approved coal production during 1998-99 to 2002-03 was 1.35 MT, the actual coal production by the Company was 5.9 MT which is an excess of 4.55 MT (nearly 300 per cent above the sanctioned extraction) of coal mined "irregularly".
Defending its position, JSPL spokesperson claimed that the production schedules mentioned for the first five years in the Mine Plans were based on the guidelines mentioned under MCR 1960 Rule 22 (5) wherein the RQP (Registered Qualified Person) who prepares the mine plan gives a tentative scheme of mining and annual plan for excavation from year to year for five years.
The spokesperson said it may, therefore, be noted that as per the approved capacity of two million tonnes per annum production for the first five years was below the cumulative year wise capacity of 10 MT and hence there was no excess mining as alleged.
The agency has alleged that there was excess coal mining in all the five years against the rate approved in Mine Plan and no prior permission was obtained from the Coal Ministry.
The excess mining came "on record" during presentation made by the Company before Standing Committee of Coal Ministry for revised Mine Plan in 2004 but the Ministry "did not take any action" against the company, the CBI alleged.
The role of RQP has also come under the scanner of the CBI which has alleged that the RQP who prepared the irregular mine plan was suspended by the Coal Ministry after irregular mining lease came to the notice of the Ministry but no action was taken against the company.
"Interestingly, though he was suspended the same RQP was again instrumental in preparation of revised mine plan of 2008," the agency alleged.
According to the CBI, the company continued "unauthorised" excess extraction of coal in the years 2003-04
and 2004-05 (ruled by NDA and UPA governments respectively) without the approval of Coal Ministry.
The agency has alleged that excess coal mined during 2003-04 and 2004-05 was 1.431 MT over and above 4.55 MT excess coal mentioned above.
It is alleged that while Standing Committee in May 2004 has stated that to increase the production to meet coal requirement for a plant the company needs the approval of the screening committee but another Standing Committee held on March 21, 2005 approved the increase in production from two MTPA to five MTPA for a period of three years.
The JSPL spokesperson said even for the first six years the coal production remained with in 12 MT (11.29) though there were "slight deviations" in the year 2003-04 and 2004-05 beyond the annual approved capacity.
"These deviations were duly brought to the knowledge of Ministry of Coal, Government of India in the draft revised Mine Plan and the same was duly approved by the ministry Chhattisgarh Environment Conservation Board (CECB) issued the consent to operate which also duly regularised such minor deviation.
"Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Rairgarh had also found no irregularity in such minor deviations (in a case filed by CECB) which had been duly regularised by the Government of India and the State Government," the spokesperson said.
The "regularisation" claimed by JSPL has also come under the scrutiny of the agency which alleged that the company "resorted to misappropriation of coal through excess mining and got the excess coal mined regularised in alleged connivance with officials of Ministry of Coal."
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