Friday, 17 August 2012

Undue benefits of Rs 3.8 lakh crore to private parties under UPA government: CAG

Undue benefits of Rs 3.8 lakh crore to private parties under UPA government: CAG
Clean Media Correspondent

NEW DELHI, August 17 (CMC) Already under attack over various scams, government on Friday faced a fusillade from the comptroller and auditor general (CAG), which has estimated "undue benefits" of over Rs 3.8 lakh crore to private parties in coal blocks allotment without bidding, Delhi airport development and diversion of coal to a power project. 

The CAG attack came when three of its reports on coal allocation, development of Delhi airport by GMR-led DIAL and ultra mega power project of Reliance Power Ltd were tabled in Parliament on Friday. The CAG, however, brought down the estimated loss in the allocation of 142 coal blocks since July 2004 from Rs 10.7 lakh crore in the draft report to over Rs 1.85 lakh crore being the benefit to private allottees. 

The CAG has estimated a potential earning capacity of Rs 1,63,557 crore to DIAL when it was given Delhi airport land on a concessional lease. The Prime Minister, who held the coal portfolio for a considerable time during the period also escaped any adverse notice of the official auditor and the blame fell on the screening committee consisting of officials for the allocation "which lacked transparency, objectivity and competition". 

The beneficiaries of coal block allocation included Essar Group, Jindal, Adani, ArcelorMittal and Tata Steel. The opposition was quick to capitalize on the CAG reports with BJP demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh taking "moral, political and personal" responsibility for the wrongful loss due to coal block allocations. 

However, the government rubbished the reports with coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal saying they were not in agreement with the CAG calculation while minister of state in the PMO V Narayanasamy said the auditor has not followed the constitutional mandate.

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