It has been revealed that the government admitted before a parliamentary panel in 2010 that the allocation of two coal blocks for coal-to-liquefaction projects in February 2009 was not done through the screening committee.
The coal blocks were allocated to Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) and Strategic Energy Technology Systems Limited (SETSL) - a joint venture between a consortium of Tata group companies and the South Africa-based Sosel Synfuels International.
The government, in a written note to the standing committee on coal and steel on December 30, 2010, said that this was an "apavaad" (exception). It, however, added that the blocks in Talcher, Orissa, were allotted through an inter-ministerial group, a route that was "roughly the same".
HT had reported on Wednesday that the allocations were done without the usual screening committee process.
The matter has now snowballed into a controversy, with BJP MP Hansraj Ahir protesting to the PM in a letter. Ahir complained to the PM that four PSUs - SAIL, GAIL, IRCON and IOC - were among the 28 applicants, but were rejected.
However, IRCON said: "IRCON International Limited clarifies that it is not in the business of either power production or sale/purchase of coal in any way and has never applied..."
The list shows the name of the applicant company as IRCON Infrastructures Limited.