Coal block defaulters now face the music

The IMG has recommended de-allocation of 29 coal blocks belonging to companies such as Essar Power, Hindalco, Tata Power and Jindal Steel and Power Ltd, and has suggested ‘no action at present’ for 30 other blocks.

According to agency reports, the IMG recommended de-allocation of Chakla and Ashok Karkatta coal blocks in Jharkhand allocated to Essar Power; Tubed coal block in Jharkhand jointly allocated to Hindalco Industries and Tata Power and Gare Palma IV/6 in Chhattisgarh jointly allotted to firms like JSPL and Nalwa Sponge Iron Ltd, among others, according to a coal ministry document.

While in the case of two coal blocks - Kotre Basantpur and Pachmo in Jharkhand - allocated to Tata Steel, the IMG has recommended that the mines are ‘liable to be deallocated’ and the ‘decision (on the same) to be taken by the government in view of the court case,’ the document said. According to a JSPL spokesperson, ‘Our company has challenged the purported action of MOC (Ministry of Coal) before the high court of Delhi who vide its order dated 12.2.2014 has ordered status quo with respect to coal block in question and the matter is sub judice.

‘We have not been communicated so far the purported cancellation of coal block Gare IV/6 by MOC, GOI (Government of India) till date.’ Reacting to the development, Essar Power official said: ‘We haven’t yet got any communication from the government (on recommendation for de-allocation of Chakla and Ashok Karkatta coal blocks.’ Hindalco Industries was unavailable for comments.

Repeated calls made to Tata Steel and Tata Power went unanswered. The document, however, said that no action at present was being taken against the coal blocks of companies like Jayaswal Neco Ltd, Jas Infrastructure Capital Ltd, JSW Steel, JLD Yavatmal Energy Ltd and Balco, among others. The final decision on the issue will be taken only after the coal minister accepts the recommendations of the IMG, according to sources. The IMG on coal blocks, which met for two days on February 7 and 8 reviewed the progress of development of 61 coal blocks.

IMG was set up under the chairmanship of additional secretary, coal, to review the progress of development of captive coal blocks alloted to private companies. The IMG has members from various ministries, including steel and power.

Soon, CBI to file chargesheet in 6 coal scam cases

New Delhi:
CBI likely to file chargesheet this week after the agency apprised the Supreme Court that it has completed its investigation in six cases relating to irregular allotment of coal blocks involving bigwig politicians and corporate houses. A bench of Justices R M Lodha, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph of Supreme Court on 16 February has asked the agency to file within three weeks final reports under Section 173 of Criminal Procedure Code in the six cases in which it has completed investigation. According to sources, CBI is likely to file chargesheet this week. Till now total 16 FIR has been registered in the case. The bench also asked the agency to wind up its investigations by 30 April and gave it a free hand to conduct probe against public sector undertakings (PSU) in states. The CBI had told SC that nine states had refused consent.
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