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Vivek Sinha, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, September 12, 2012
Private coal producers and exporters in the US are keenly watching the unfolding of India's coalgate saga as it could have direct bearing on their business prospects as well.

"I am sure the companies that are selling coal (in Kentucky) will watch the facts develop and then will take decisions accordingly," Steve L Beshear, governor of Kentucky state in the US, told Hindustan Times on the sidelines of a CII function. 

A couple of days before India's national auditor CAG tabled its report on allocation of coal blocks in the Parliament, Kentucky-based firm FJS Energy had signed a whopping $7billion ( Rs. 38,500 crore) deal with Nagpur-based Abhijeet Group.

This deal, hailed as the first ever long-term coal-purchase agreement between India and US, meant that the Abhijeet Group would purchase 9 million tonnes of coal from the foreign firm over the next 25 years.

A twist in the deal came last week when CBI booked five firms for the alleged coal scandal. Of these, Manoj Jayaswal -- who also owns Abhijeet Group - owns three firms.

"We don't understand those issues that are just now being developed here in India….and we have to see where those facts may lead this particular contract," he added.

Government sources said the Indian government has already sensitised its consulate in the US over the possible fallout of the scandal.

"It (the deal) will be between the private companies in Kentucky and the private companies in India," said he.