Tamil Nadu

PIL seeks joint probe by DRI, CVC, DVAC into ‘coal import scam’

The Madras High Court on Thursday directed the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) to file a counter affidavit within a week to a public interest litigation petition, which sought a joint probe by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, the Central Vigilance Commission and the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption into an alleged scam that had been taking place in the State over the years in import of coal for thermal power stations.

Justices R. Subbiah and Sathi Kumar Sukumara Kurup issued the direction on the PIL petition filed by C. Selvaraj, 70, a retired Assistant Engineer of the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB), who had also served as general secretary of a TNEB engineers’ association for many years. The petitioner urged the court to quash a tender notification issued by Tangedco on February 8 for supply of 20 lakh tonnes of imported steam coal.

According to the petitioner, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in 2017 found that an avoidable expenditure of ₹746.13 crore had been incurred by Tangedco since it had not invited and evaluated the bids for import of coal on the variable price method. The CAG had stated that the failure to independently verify the correctness of gross calorific value furnished by the supplier resulted in undue benefit to the extent of ₹813.68 crore, the petitioner said, and opposed import of coal.

“The first respondent (Tangedco) is not justified in going for global tender for importing coal without declaring non-availability of coal within the country and also not ascertaining and promoting alternative methods of electricity generation,” the petitioner said.

He said the financial burden incurred by Tangedco from import of coal was passed on to the common man in the form of tariff revision. Therefore, import of coal should be the last option, the petitioner added.

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Printable version | Apr 22, 2021 9:26:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/pil-seeks-joint-probe-by-dri-cvc-dvac-into-coal-import-scam/article33936714.ece

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