Oppn corners govt over coal auction scam, demands probe
Taking note of the draft report of the CAG on allotment of coal blocks without auction, the BJP today demanded a CBI probe into the allotment of coal blocks and monitoring of the probe by a court.delhi Updated: Mar 22, 2012 14:25 IST
Taking note of the draft report of the CAG on allotment of coal blocks without auction, the BJP on Thursday demanded a CBI probe into the allotment of coal blocks and monitoring of the probe by a court.
"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.
"Why coal blocks were alloted without auction?" Javdekar asked.
According to the CAG draft report, the government extended undue benefits totalling a Rs 10.67 lakh crore to commercial entities by giving them 155 coal acreages without auction between 2004 and 2009.
Referring to major scams, Javdekar said, "The CWG scam is (is to the tune) of Rs 70,000 crore, 2G scam is Rs 1.76 lakh crore. But, now the new coal scam is Rs 10.67 lakh crore. It is a government of scams... from airways to mining everywhere the government is involved in scams."
He said, "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."
Left parties too condemned the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government of following "wrong policies" to further the interests of corporate houses.
"It is a serious scam, a very big scam. In fact all these scams are taking place because of the wrong policies pursued by the government, furthering all corporate houses, big business houses in the country. Why did the government not go for the auction route? Mines, all minerals are the natural resources, they are national assets. It is for the prime minister to explain the position of the government," D Raja of the CPI said.
"This is a bigger scam than 2G. This should be investigated," Sitaram Yechury, Rajya Sabha MP of the Communist Party of India-Marxist, added.
Government declined to react on a CAG report on allotment of coal blocks in the country, saying no final report from the auditor has been received by it yet.
"Draft reports are never discussed in Parliament. No final report of the CAG has come to the government yet. Unless a final report comes to the PAC or the government, how could one react," minister of state for parliamentary affairs Rajiv Shukla told reporters outside Parliament.
Power minister Sushilkumar Shinde too said he was not aware of it.
The report comes against the backdrop of many sectors, primarily power, grappling with acute coal shortage.
Commenting on the issue, NTPC -- one of the entities that was allotted coal mines during 2004-09 period -- said it has not reaped any windfall profits.
"There is no way by which NTPC can make windfall profit out of the coal produced from these mines as under the CERC regulated regime the cost of coal from these mines will be pass-through in the power tariff...
"Therefore, it will only help to reduce the ultimate cost of power at the end-user," NTPC chairman and managing director Arup Roy Choudhury said.
(With PTI and IANS inputs)