Coalgate probe points the finger at four media houses

Even as the Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) held its first meeting on Thursday to listen to 10 of the companies that have been issued show-cause notice, investigation into Coalgate is pointing to at least four media houses being beneficiaries of the coal blocks allocation.

Sources in the government said that at least three print media publication houses and one electronic channel have benefited from the allocation of coal blocks by misrepresenting facts to secure critical coal assets.

“Investigations have revealed that these companies managed to bag coal blocks after floating front companies in order avoid exposing themselves directly in the allocation process. One of the publications has also floated a power generation company, and was beneficiary due to that linkage. One of the companies is understood to have been summoned by IMG during its three-day marathon meeting.”

CBI probe on

The matter is under investigation by CBI, and it is likely to file a formal complaint in the second phase of registration of FIRs,” a senior Coal Ministry official said.

On the other hand, Monnet Ispat and Energy, one of the 10 firms asked to appear before the IMG, informed the group that it had plans to begin production in its Utkal B2 coal block in Odisha by March 2013.

Work from March 2013

“We have estimated the production from this coal block to begin around March 2013,” Monnet Ispat chairman and managing director Sandeep Jajodia told reporters after meeting the IMG members.

The IMG has been asked to submit a report for de-allocation of blocks and encashing of bank guarantees of the captive mine owners by September 15.

Notice to company

Between 1999 and 2009, Monnet was allocated five captive mines. Of this, the IMG had issued notice to the company for the Utkal B2 block that was allocated on August 16, 1999, with an extractable reserve of 77 MT but is yet to begin production.

‘Monnet Ispat credible’

“I don’t know what decision the committee will take. I believe that we have given a good presentation and justified the reasons for the delay. I am sure the Ministry of Coal and rest of the people know that Monnet Ispat is a very serious player in the industry and a very credible company,” Jajodia said.

The IMG has summoned players like Usha Martin, Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL), Visa Steel, Uttam Galva, Bhushan Steel, Orissa Sponge Iron & Steel, Electrosteel Castings and Adhunik Metaliks.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2021 4:35:18 AM |

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