Coal-Gate: All Licenses Issued Since 1992 Are Illegal, Says Supreme Court

coal600NEW DELHI : The Supreme Court today declared that all coal mining rights assigned 1992 and 2008 were assigned illegally by the government in a process that lacked transparency in the absence of a competitive bidding system.How the mining rights should be re-assigned will be decided by the top court in a series of hearings starting September 1.
The judges said that no guidelines were followed in handing out coal licenses, and that 36 different committees which included representatives of state and central governments acted arbitrarily and “public good suffered” as a result.The allocation of coal licenses has been the subject of a CBI investigation that is being monitored by the Supreme Court since the state auditor said in 2012 that 1.83 lakh crores had been lost because coal rights were not auctioned.
That finding by the Comptroller and Auditor General forms the basis of the scandal dubbed “Coal-Gate” which singed the previous government headed by Dr Manmohan Singh, who held direct charge of the Coal Ministry for some of the years under investigation.Dr Singh ignored calls for his resignation over the alleged scam, which added to a retinue of financial scandals weighing down his government ahead of the national election in May.The CBI has inquested the assignment of 194 coal blocks allocations since 1992. Of these, 39 were assigned to companies before Dr Singh’s coalition government first took office in 2004 (it won a second term in 2009).
The agency has been trying to identify possible collusion between government officials and firms who misrepresented their financial and other records to get under-priced licenses.

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