Tata Group’s firms are alleged in the coal block allocations of having benefitted at the expense of government funds, according to Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed numerous FIRs on coal block investigations, began a year after the report submitted by CAG in the Parliament. It has already filed 14 cases and there is more to see in the future. Tata Group’s firms namely, Tata Steel, Tata Sponge and Tata Power accompanied by 57 other private firms have been accused of being involved in the coal scam as per the CAG reports.
Tata Steel was allotted two semi-coking coal blocks at Kotre Basantpur and Panchmo, located in Jharkhand. Together, the blocks have an overall reserve of 250 MnT. Later on, the Ganeshpur thermal coal block, located in Jharkhand, with 137 MnT reserves was also allotted to Tata Steel in cooperation with Adhunik Thermal Energy. All three blocks however, are not in operations even after they were allotted long ago.
Tata Steel had not answered to the queries of CBI yet and instead, the chairman, H M Nerurkar said on August, 2012, that, “There was a policy and people have followed the policy. Coal is just a pass-through. If coal prices increase, it would be reflected in power rates. What is the scam? Lots of figures are coming up, but there are many issues like lease issue and mine and environment clearances.”
Despite notifications sent to Tata Steel fort the development of coal blocks, no such efforts are seen to be made by the company to start operations in those plants. It has also been warned of de-allocation of blocks on not responding to the show-cause notices for development.
Tata Sponge, another firm of Tata Group, which had been allocated Radhikapur (East) coal block, jointly with Scaw Industries and SPS Sponge Iron was also recommended for deduction in 2012.
Tata Power has a joint block with Hindalco Power in Jharkhand, with reserves of about 190 MnT which is not operating, as per CAG reports. In addition, another coal block allocated to it, jointly with Monnet Ispat & Energy and Jindal Photo with reserves of 322 MnT coal is also not operating.
CAG is still focusing on all the non-producing and illegally allocated mines as mentioned in its reports of coal block allocations. The long awaited coal scam is still witnessing certain investigations and with passing time, more hidden facts are uncovered.