New Delhi: The Comptroller and Auditor General of India
(CAG) on Thursday raised questions over the story alleging a massive coal
scam carried out by a newspaper. The CAG in a letter to Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh said that the press report is exceedingly misleading and
the audit report is still under preparation.
A newspaper on Thursday carried a story and claimed that the CAG's draft
report titled 'Performance Audit of Coal Block Allocations' says the
government has extended "undue benefits", a mind-boggling Rs 10.67 lakh
crore, to commercial entities by giving them 155 coal blocks without
auction between 2004 and 2009.
The beneficiaries include some 100 private companies, as well as some
public sector units, in industries such as power, steel and cement,
exposed a newspaper. The draft report is set to rock the UPA government
Highlights of CAG's letter to PM:
Press report is "exceedingly misleading".
Audit Report is still under preparation.
In the extant case the
details being brought out were observations which are under discussion
at a very preliminary stage.
The (discussions) do not even constitute our pre-final draft and hence
are exceedingly misleading.
Pursuant to clarification provided by the Ministry in exit conferences
held on 9.02.2012 and 9.03.2012, we have changed our thinking.
The leak of the initial draft causes great embarrassment as the Audit
Report is still under preparation.
Such leakage causes very deep anguish.
The coal ministry was with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and JMM leader
Shibu Soren during the UPA-I's tenure between 2004 and 2009.
The CAG-estimated loss figure of Rs 10.67 lakh crore at March 31, 2011
prices is six times that of its highest presumptive loss figure of Rs 1.76
lakh crore for the 2G scam.
The report has listed both private entities and public utilities as
beneficiaries of the alleged largesse. It says private firms cornered more
than Rs 4.79 lakh crore of the giveaway, while around Rs 5.88 lakh crore
went to government utilities. Significantly, most PSUs employ private
miners to extract the coal.
Among the major private sector beneficiaries are, Jindal Steel & Power
Ltd, Tata Group entities, the Anil Agarwal Group firms, Aditya Birla Group
companies, Essar Group's power ventures, Adani Group, Arcelor Mittal
India, Lanco Group, Jayaswal Neco, Electro Steel Castings Ltd, Bhushan
Power & Steel Ltd and Abhijeet Group.
While the PSU beneficiaries are NTPC, MMTC, many West Bengal government
corporations, and mines and mineral development corporations of
Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh.
CAG's letter to PM on coal block issue:
New Delhi: March 22, 2012
Chaitra 02, 1934
With reference to the lead story published in the Times of India today
titled "Government lost Rs 10.7 lakh cr by not auctioning coal blocks:
CAG", the Prime Minister has received a letter from the Comptroller and
Auditor General of India at 1:30 pm today.
Among other things, the letter clarifies that:
"In the extant case the details being brought out were observations which
are under discussion at a very preliminary stage and do not even
constitute our pre-final draft and hence are exceedingly
misleading....Pursuant to clarification provided by the Ministry in exit
conferences held on 9.02.2012 and 9.03.2012, we have changed our thinking.
In fact it is not even our case that the unintended benefit to the
allocatee is an equivalent loss to the exchequer. The leak of the initial
draft causes great embarrassment as the Audit Report is still under
preparation. Such leakage causes very deep anguish."
Director PM UNIT PIB, 1st floor, A wing, Shastri Bhawan
4768; 2338 3203 [fax]
- with PTI inputs
report exposes coal scam
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