BJP, Cong clap on SC verdict
Welcoming Supreme Court judgment as ending of uncertainty, Power Minister Piyush Goyal said the government is ready to act quickly once the court delivers its final view on the coal mines allocation, which it has declared illegal.
‘Common good and public interest have suffered heavily’
- 1. Allocations made, both under the Screening Committee route and the Government dispensation route, are arbitrary and illegal. What should be the consequences, is the issue which remains to be tackled. We are of the view that, to this limited extent, the matter requires further hearing
- 2. The entire allocation of coal block as per recommendations made by the Screening Committee from 14.07.1993 in 36 meetings and the allocation through the Government dispensation route suffers from the vice of arbitrariness and legal flaws
- 3. The Screening Committee has never been consistent, it has not been transparent, there is no proper application of mind, it has acted on no material in many cases, relevant factors have seldom been its guiding factors, there was no transparency and guidelines have seldom guided it
- 4. Approach had been ad-hoc and casual. There was no fair and transparent procedure, all resulting in unfair distribution of the national wealth.
- 5. Common good and public interest have suffered heavily
New Delhi: Welcoming Supreme Court judgment as ending of uncertainty, Power Minister Piyush Goyal said the government is ready to act quickly once the court delivers its final view on the coal mines allocation, which it has declared illegal.
"The fact that this has brought to finality and closure a dispute or problem that has been for many years ... (It is) a big plus for the Indian economy. I think in fact they should have been immensely pleased that the economy can now move forward rapidly rather being cast with the shadow of uncertainty," he said. Goyal went to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Congress leader and former Union Minister Manish Tewari, while reacting to the apex court's verdict, said "their stand has been vindicated as this is precisely what the Congress has been saying." He said the process followed between 2004 and 2009 was same that was being followed between 1993 and 2004.
"Therefore, if the Supreme Court has come to a conclusion with regards to the entire period between 1993 to 2009 and the conclusion is uniform in nature, it obviously vindicates what we are saying," he said.
How India lost Rs.1.86 lakh crore What is Coalgate scam?
The coal allocation scam, or ‘Coalgate' as it is popularly known is a political scandal which revolves around allocation of country's coal deposits to public and private companies by the erstwhile UPA government. The scam came to fore after the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) accused the government of India for allocating 194 coal blocks in an inefficient manner during the period 2004-2009 which resulted in a huge loss to the public exchequer. The coal blocks were allotted to private companies and parties in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh 2004 to March 2011.
What all did the CAG reveal?
Earlier, the loss was said to be around 10 lakh crore, but when a report on the same was tabled in the Parliament, the figures came down to Rs 1.86 lakh crore. As per reports, 194 blocks were allotted to various companies, out of which nearly 15 blocks that were given to private players did not even start production till 2011.
It also alleged that the process of allocation was not transparent and despite having the opportunity to bring in transparency, the government did not introduce the process of competitive bidding. It also alleged that that many politicians lobbied for allotment of coal blocks and implying crony capitalism.
What did the PAC say?
Revealing that the government did not receive any revenue from the above coal block allocation, the parliamentary standing committee report in April 2013 said that all allocations done from 1993 were done in a non-transparent manner.
Ministers dragged into row?
Former PM Manmohan Singh, who held the coal ministry portfolio briefly in 2004 and then for almost five years between 2007 and 2012. Others who were dragged into the controversy were ministers of state for coal like Dasari Narayan Rao, Santosh Bagodia, cabinet minister Shibu Soren.
CAG report named some of India's blue chip companies like the Tata group, Naveen Jindal group, Essar group, Abhijeet group, Laxmi Mittal's Arcelor and Vedanta. According to the CAG report, all these companies benefited due to the allocations without bidding during 2004-2006.
Files go missing
In August 2013, the coalgate scam took a turn after the then coal minister Shriprakash Jaiswal admitted that a few crucial files relating to the investigation between 1993 and 2004 had gone missing. Jaiswal's admission came after a Supreme Court directive to the government to co-operate with the CBI's inquiry.
CBI ‘a caged parrot'
CBI director Ranjit Sinha admitted to the Apex Court that its initial report on the scam had been vetted by the law minister and the PMO, and that certain changes had been made to the report. This had prompted the Supreme Court to term the CBI as a ‘caged parrot'. Following this revelation, the law minister Ashwini Kumar had to resign.
PC Parakh on coal scam
Former Coal Secretary PC Parakh had earlier said the Apex Court must take "strong note" of CBI's reported move to close its investigation into the 10-month old coal scam probe against him and Aditya Birla Group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla, as the agency had "spoiled reputations" by lodging the case in the first place. Parakh had strongly criticised the CBI in his book which was released earlier this year in April, in which he even accused CBI Director Ranjit Sinha of abusing his office to book him. Parakh had also levelled charges against former PM Manmohan Singh saying he was undermined by former coal ministers Shibu Soren and Dasari Narayan Rao.