Govt carried out coal auctions after tweaking rules, alleges Cong citing CAG reports

Congress also asks why no action was taken by the government on letters by two BJP leaders raising concerns over the coal auctions

Pawan Khera at the press conference (photo: AICC)
Pawan Khera at the press conference (photo: AICC)
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PTI

The Congress on Saturday cited CAG reports to allege that the government carried out coal auctions after tweaking rules in order to favour a select few industrialists, which caused a huge revenue loss, while party MP Jairam Ramesh said "coal auctions have been completely rigged for Adani’s benefit since 2014" in a social media post.

The Opposition party also asked why no action was taken by the government and the prime minister on letters by two BJP leaders raising concerns over the coal auctions. It further asked whether the government would order an ED investigation into the matter.

Addressing a press conference in Delhi, Congress leader Pawan Khera displayed letters by BJP leaders and now ministers R.K. Singh and Rajeev Chandrasekhar, raising concerns in 2015 over the coal auctions by allowing only two companies, who were related, to bid for the blocks that led to cartelisation and loss of revenue.

He alleged that the two were later made ministers and no action was taken on their concerns thereafter. "Will the Modi government order an ED raid and investigate this sordid saga of collusion and corruption?" Khera asked.

In a long post on X, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh wrote, "The prime minister has gone to town talking about 'Modi ki Guarantee'. The only guarantee that he has delivered on is the one he has made to his corporate chanda-givers: 'Chanda do, koila lo (pay a fee, get coal)'."

Ramesh said the Modi government's 'White Paper' began with a discussion of the alleged 'Coalgate' scam of 2014. "The real scam, however, was the anyay kaal (era of injustice) of the last 10 years, when the Modi government — despite warnings from its own leaders — handed over ready-to-use, highly profitable coal mines for a pittance to its param-mitr (close friend) and biggest chanda-giver. Coal auctions have been completely rigged for Adani’s benefit since 2014," he alleged.

"The Modi government rigged the auctions with a 'limited tender', so that for each coal block auctioned, only one type of coal usage was allowed. This limited the number of companies that could compete for each coal block, leading to much lower prices, which cost the public exchequer thousands of crores," Ramesh explained.

"In 2014, a BJP MP, now Union power minister, wrote to then finance minister Arun Jaitley that a 'limited tender' such as this one could lead to 'cartel formation and deliberate undervaluation', causing loss to the public exchequer. Another MP, now MoS electronics and IT, wrote to the then coal minister to flag the same issue in 2015. True to the warnings, the coal minister and the CAG themselves admitted that at least 15 coal blocks saw cartelisation, causing loss of revenues to the exchequer," he said.


Khera asked why the prime minister ignored the BJP leaders when they were writing letters about "corruption, rigging and factionalism". Explaining the chronology, Khera said the Modi government formed a new coal auction and allocation policy to distribute over 200 blocks of coal with over 41 billion tonnes of coal in 2015. Subsequently, dissenting opinions were raised against the policy from within the party, and the dissent came from two BJP politicians themselves.

"However, in 2016, the CAG tabled a report in Parliament, giving evidence of how dubious the coal auctions had turned out to be," he claimed.

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