Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kirit Somaiya on Tuesday alleged that former chief minister Ashok Chavan manipulated the tender process in allocating four coal blocks to private players in Maharashtra, leading to a Rs 375-crore scam. These, he claimed were initially in the name of the Maharashtra State Mineral Corporation (MSMC).
He also alleged the parties to whom two of the blocks were allocated were fraudulent.
“In all, seven coal mines were allotted to the Maharashtra government, of which only three were handed over for power generation to MSMC, while the other four were allotted dubiously,” Somaiya said on Tuesday.
The four allocations made were Agarzari coal block to Adani Enterprises, Warora coal blocks to Gupta Coal India, Adkoli coal blocks to Sunil Hightech Engineers Ltd and Gare Palma coal blocks to m/s India Bulls. Explaining his claim, Somaiya flashed minutes of a meeting presided over by Ashok Chavan in May 2009 when he has both chief minister and mining minister, where he reduced the upfront payment in the tender bidding.
“Chavan unilaterally reduced the upfront payment from parties from 50% to 10%, thus allowing private parties the concession to pay after they started mining and earned. Why was such a concession allotted and why were the tender conditions changed?” Somaiya asked.
Taking pot-shots at the government over the allocations, he pointed out that the allocation made to Gupta Coal India was questionable. “A case has been filed against the owner of this company by the central government after his Nagpur office was raided for another allocation. Why has our Maharashtra government not taken any action against him,” he asked.
On the allocation made to Sunil Hightech Engineers Ltd, Somaiya alleged the company was bogus and had not even started work. “If no work has progressed on a coal block for 2 years, it is supposed to be taken back, then why is Sunil Hitech still holding it?” he asked.