Indian Coal Allocation Scam

Here is a brief history of Coalgate Scam :-

India’s 66% electricity is produced by coal-based thermal power plants. Coal deposits available in India currently can suffice electricity production in the country for next 100 years. India is third largest coal producing nation in the world.

1973: Coal (back gold), major source of energy, was nationalised in India and Coal India Ltd (CIL) was accorded sole rights to extract coal. However CIL has failed to supply required quantities of coal by various sectors in the nation.

2004: UPA government decided that Coal India is incapable of producing sufficient coal thus much coal blocks shall be allocated to private companies.

2006–2009: 75 coal blocks were allocated to private companies, while 70 blocks were allocated to public companies.

17 August 2012: CAG (Comptroller Auditor General) submitted its report on coal block allocation to the parliament.

21 August 2012: Government claimed that CAG report is just estimation and questioned its accuracy and authenticity.

25 August 2012: Opposition demanded Prime Minister’s resignation and interrupted proceedings of Parliament.

27 August 2012: Prime Minister delivered his deposition in an attempt to save the government.

29 August 2012: Kapil Sibal said that the allocation of coal blocks commenced during the regime of NDA government.

30 August 2012: Sonia Gandhi challenged BJP to argue over Coalgate scam.

2 September 2012: CBI reached Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand to investigate the matter.

3 September 2012: An Inter-Ministerial Group reviewed status of 58 coal blocks, which both public and private firms failed to develop within stipulated time frame.

4 September 2012: CBI raided 30 locations in 10 cities and registered cases against 5 companies.

6 September 2012: A public interest litigation filed in Supreme Court demanded cancellation of allocation of 194 coal blocks.

5 March 2013: CBI shared status report with Law Minister Ashwani Kumar and two other senior officials.

12 March 2013: Supreme Court slammed CBI for this and directed the agency to not share investigation report with the government.

19 April 2013: BJP demanded Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to resign.

23 April 2013: Standing committee on coal and steel said in its report that allocation of coal blocks during 1993–2008 breached rules and regulations. Allocation of blocks where production has not yet commenced shall be cancelled.

26 April 2013: CBI produced an affidavit and said that status report has been shared with Law Minister Ashwani Kumar.

29 April 2013: CBI told the apex court that government has altered 20% of the original report.

16 August 2013: Coal Minister Shriprakash Jaiswal told Parliament that critical files pertaining to the investigation of coal block allocation during 1993–2004 went missing.

19 September 2013: CBI registered two cases pertaining to the missing files in the investigation of Coalgate.

16 October 2013: CBI raided Kumar Mangalam Birla’s company Hindalco’s Delhi office. 25 crore cash was seized by the agency.

17 October 2013: CBI registered FIR against industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla, his company Hindalco and former coal secretary P C Parakh.

7 January 2014: CBI registered two new FIRs. BLA Industries and MD Anup Agarwalla were taken in loop through first FIR. Anup Agarwalla is a senior BJP leader. Second FIR was registered against Castron Mining and its Directors.

9 January 2014: Centre admits its mistake for the first time. Attorney General G E Vahanvati told Supreme Court of India that the coal blocks were allocated with good intention; however, something went wrong. There could have been a better way to work to avoid what transpired.

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