Millennium Post

In Round III, IMG zeroes in on biggies

As the de-allocation of coal blocks entered the third round, the names of corporate bigwigs have started to tumble out. The Gourangdih ABC coal block, one of the three blocks which were recommended for de-allocation on Sunday, was allotted to Himachal EMTA Power Limited and JSW Steel Limited in 2009, the latter owned by Sajjan Jindal, the elder brother of Congress MP Naveen Jindal. Besides, the group has also recommended the deduction of bank guarantee in the case of Radhikapur East coal block, which was allotted to Tata Sponge Iron Limited and others.

The other two coal blocks recommended to be de-allocated by the inter-ministerial group (IMG) on Sunday are Ravanwara North and New Patrapara, which were allotted to SKS Ispat and Power Limited in 2007 and another industry major Bhushan Steel respectively.

Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahai's brother Sudhir Kant Sahai, has in the past, held the position of 'honorary director' in SKS Ispat, which has Ravanwara coal block, whereas New Patrapara block has an extractable reserve of 316.09 million tonnes. This block is mentioned in the Comptroller and Auditor General's report, which had estimated that the company got undue benefit to the tune of Rs 9,338 crore.

If the recommendations of the IMG are accepted by the coal ministry, likelihood of which is very high, the number of blocks cancelled for insufficient progress would go up to seven.

The group had also recommended on Saturday the deduction of Bank Guarantee in the cases of Nerad Malegaon Block allotted to M/s Gupta Metaliks and Power Limited and Gupta Coalfields Limited, Lohari Block allotted to another industry major Usha Martin Limited, and Bijahan Coal Block allotted to Bhushan Steel Limited.

The inter-ministerial group has, so far, scrutinised the replies by 18 coal block allottees, including four on Sunday, in its three meeting in the last four days. It will meet again on Monday.
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