'Coal blocks allocated between 1993 and 2008 were unauthorised'
Posted on: 08:16 AM IST Apr 23, 2013
New Delhi: A Parliamentary standing committee on coal and steel, which will submit its report on Tuesday, contains a few explosive conclusions. There could be trouble both for the UPA and NDA as the report says all the coal blocks distributed between 1993 and 2008 were unauthorised and not done in a transparent manner.
Meanwhile, the report observes that no bidding process was held for coal allocations. Though it is not binding on the government, the report recommends that those involved directly or indirectly should be investigated.
It also says that all coal mine allocations where production is yet to be begin, should be cancelled. The report does not name a presumptive loss figure, however.
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. CNN-IBN has accessed the details of the CBI's affidavit that the agency will file with the apex court on April 26.
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. The Supreme Court had ordered the CBI not to share the report with the government. It has also asked the Centre to explain why a small group of companies were favoured.
Top CBI sources told CNN-IBN that if asked, they will tell the SC that the Law Minister had indeed vetted the report on the scam. Earlier in April, a report in a national daily had said the CBI status report was vetted by Ashwani Kumar and officials of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) but the Congress had distanced itself saying the matter is pending in court. Questions have also been raised about the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's own knowledge about the entire coal scam probe report.
The main Opposition the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been demanding resignation of the Law Minister in the wake of reports that he had summoned the CBI chief after which the report on the scam was "toned down". Congress had rejected the charge of interference and has ruled out resignation of the Law Minister.