The coal scam, or what’s popularly called the coalgate, first came to light when India’s audit watchdog, The Comptroller and Auditor General of India, raised the issue of inadequacies in the allocation of coal blocks from 2004 onwards. It created a political storm, as the loss to the exchequer was initially pegged at over Rs. 10 lakh crore. The final report scaled it down to Rs. 1.86 lakh crore.
CAG’s criticism was that though the government had decided to allot coal blocks through a system of competitive bidding, what it ended up following was a method that was opaque and subjective. Further, its point was, there was no legal impediment in introducing a more transparent process. Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that coal blocks allocated by the government between 1993 and 2010 were illegal.
Dr. Singh and the Coal trail
- ›March 2012 CAG’s draft report accuses govt of ‘inefficient’ allocation of coal blocks in 2004-2009; estimates windfall gains to allottees at Rs 10.7 lakh crore.
- ›May 29, 2012 Prime Minister Manmohan Singh offers to give up his public life if found guilty in the scam. Two days later, CVC directs a CBI enquiry
- ›November 25, 2014 CBI informs a special court that it was not permitted to question former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The investigating agency also said it wasn't necessary.
- ›December 17, 2014 Special court ordered the CBI to examine former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
- ›January 20, 2015 CBI records the statement of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
- ›March 11, 2015 Special court summons former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Kumar Mangalam Birla and P.C. Parakh as accused.
> Detailed timeline of the coal scam