Union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal has rejected the Comptroller and Auditor-General’s conclusion that coal blocks allocation helped private companies gain Rs. 1.86 lakh crore.
Talking to journalists after the report was tabled in Parliament on Friday, he said: “The policy adopted to allocate coal blocks was not faulty. There could not be a more transparent policy for allocation of coal blocks [since 2004 when there was no competitive bidding].”
The CAG has come down heavily on the government for its failure to initiate competitive bidding for coal blocks.
But Mr. Jaiswal said the CAG assessment was based only on a few aspects of coal allocation. “We are not in agreement with the CAG calculation in its entirety.”
He said private parties were involved in development of coal blocks as the state-run Coal India was not able to meet the growing fuel requirements. “Out of the 57 blocks allocated to the private parties, only one is operational. The blocks allocated to the Tatas and Jindal Steel and Power for their coal-to-liquid projects were aimed at reducing crude imports.”
No illegality: Moily
In his reaction, Power Minister Veerappa Moily said coal mines allocation to Reliance Power for its Madhya Pradesh project was transparent.
“There is no illegality in coal blocks allocation. It is an open book. It is transparent. I am not part of any value judgement at this stage. Ultimately, it is a report given by the CAG. It is not a final finding. It will go before the Public Accounts Committee. It will go before Parliament,” he told journalists here.
Mr. Moily said the Power Ministry had given the CAG all information. “The CAG was informed of the Attorney-General’s decision, not that anything was withheld, and all relevant papers were placed before the CAG, and they should have considered it. They have not referred to the Attorney-General’s opinion. The CAG has not taken cognisance of all these relevant facts in its final report.”