Parl panel on coal mines to put both UPA, NDA in dock

A ParliamentaryStanding Committee on Coal and Steel has said all coal blocks allocated between 1993 and 2008 were unauthorised and the distribution process lacked transparency, virtually putting both the UPA and NDA in the dock for perpetrating corruption in a sector which is strictly controlled by the government.

According toCNN-IBN, the report also says that all coal mine allocations, where production is yet to be begin, should be cancelled.

Reuters

Reuters

The report has argued that there was no transparency in the allocation process and the exchequer did not get any revenue from allocation of the blocks. It alsopointed out that the allocations between 1993 and 2004 were done without any advertisement or public information, reported Times of India.

It also said quoting sources that the panel surprisingly could not get any information from anywhere.

"How can you believe that? With so many blocks one can imagine the money that would be at stake," one of the sources was quoted as saying in the report.

However,thepanel does not name a presumptive loss figure.

With the standing committee report, there could be trouble for both the Congree-led UPA and the BJP-led NDA.Parliament seems set for another round of disruptions today.

The committee, headed by the Trinamool CongressMP Kalyan Banerjee, has recommended that all personnel who have been involved in the allocation process "should be investigated for their role".

On 22 March, TOI had reported the draft of the CAG's report that said the government extended windfall gains of Rs 10.67 lakh crore to private and government entities by distributing 155 blocks without bidding between 2004 and 2009. However, the final reportlowered the estimated windfall gains to Rs 1.86 lakh crore by excluding the state-run companies and joint ventures with government entities.

Meanwhile,the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), in an affidavit, is set to tell the Supreme Court of India that the probe agency's report on coal block allocation scam was shared with the Law Ministry on its request and that Law Minister Ashwani Kumar had vetted the report, a charge the Congress has been rejecting.

The CBI affidavit will also include the original status report on the coal block allocation scam, which concluded that there was a lack of transparency in the Centre's coal policy. The role of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and the government in coal allocations is also part of the CBI report.

In March, the probe agency had said in its status report that many companies were given coal blocks through false representations and that there was no rationale for allocation of the blocks.

A bench presided over by Justice RM Lodha observed that the status report filed by the CBI highlighted that there was no system in place to verify the names, track record, financial capacity or the preparations made by companies seeking coal blocks.

To ensure that the government did not influence the probe, the bench directed the CBI Director to file an affidavit stating that probe details were not shared with the executive.It has also asked the Centre to explain why a small group of companies were favoured.


Updated Date: Dec 20, 2014 18:05 PM