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The Supreme Court on Wednesday quashed allocation of 214 out of 218 coal blocks alloted to various companies since 1993. The apex court while quashing 214 coal block allocation, spared only four government-run coal blocks. It is reported that around Rs 2 lakh crore were invested on it. The court also directed the companies, which were allocated coal blocks but had not operationalised them, to pay a compensation to the government for the loss of exchequer. It accepted the findings of the CAG which came to the conclusion that the loss of Rs 295 per tonne was caused due to the non-operation of the mines. Also Read - Rafale Deal: CAG Pulls Up Dassault, MBDA For Not Fulfilling Offset Obligations of Contract
The UPA govt had opposed cancellation of coal blocks allocation saying that around Rs 2 lakh crore had been invested by various companies after blocks were alloted to them. The apex court had on August 25 held that all coal blocks allocation since 1993 by various regimes at the Centre have been made illegally and arbitrarily. The apex court, which had used almost all terms to condemn the procedures adopted by 36 screening committee meetings since 1993, however, had stopped short of cancelling them. Also Read - No Coercive Action Against Facebook Chief in Delhi Riots Case Till Oct 15: Supreme Court to Delhi Assembly
We list all you need to know about the biggest scam in the country:
Coal allocation procedure: Till 1993, the government had no specific procedure to allocate the coal block. Since 1993 onwards, the government had been awarding blocks to private parties for captive mining on recommendations of the Inter-Ministerial Screening Committee or through direct allocation. In 2004 government proposed the concept of competitive bidding for allocating coal blocks. A total of 70 coal mines or blocks were allocated between 1993 and 2005, 53 in 2006, 52 in 2007, 24 in 2008, 16 in 2009 and 1 in 2010. In all, 216 blocks were given between 1993 and 2010. Of these, 24 were taken away at different points in time, effectively leaving the total number of coal permits at 194.
Coalgate scam: Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) in its report of March 2014, accused the government of India for allocating the 194 coal blocks to private and government run entities in an inefficient manner instead of auctioning them during the period 2004–2009. It resulted the Rs1.86 lakh crore losses to the exchequer.
Probe: After the CAG draft report, the BJP lodged complaint and then Central Bureau of Investigation began to probe the alleged corruption in coal block allocations. The CBI while investigating the scam has lodged so far many cases against high profile industrialists and politicians. Meanwhile a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Coal and Steel in its report suggested that all coal blocks allocations between 1993 and 2008 were unlawful. It also pointed out that the allocations between 1993 and 2004 were done without any advertisement or public information. The report accused both the UPA and NDA government for perpetrating massive corruption.
Accused: Though the CBI has lodged cases against Naveen Jindal, Kumaramangalam Birla, Congress MP Vijay Darda and his brother Rajendra Darda, former coal minister PC Parakh but the CAG put Coal Ministry and PMO responsible for the corruption in allocations during 2004 to 2009. The coal ministry at that time was headed by former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh.
Now the Supreme Court ruled that coal blocks allocated by the government between 1993 and 2010 were illegal.