New Delhi: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on coal blocks allocation suggests that it could be an even bigger embarrassment than the 2G spectrum allocation scam with top private companies making a windfall of Rs 1.86 lakh crore due to lack of bidding.
The final draft of the CAG report on the coal blocks allocation, accessed by CNN-IBN, says that the allocation of captive coal mines from 2004 to 2006 was not transparent. Notably, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held the Coal Ministry portfolio from 2006 to 2009.
It further said that a six-year delay in moving to competitive bidding led to huge losses to the state.
The CAG report lists Tata group, Naveen Jindal group, Essar group, Abhijeet group, Laxmi Mittal's Arcelor and Vedanta among the beneficiaries.
However, CAG does not mention the role of the PMO and state governments in the coal blocks allocation.
The auditing watchdog has blamed the steering committee recommendations that gave away captive coal mines without bidding.
The CAG report has said that the delay in introducing competitive bidding, first suggested in 2004, led to major benefits to the private sector, but the rules for auction only got finalised six years later in 2012 after a series of controversies.
Till 2004 June, only 39 blocks were allotted, but in order to improve the production, 142 allotments were made between July 2004 and 2006 to private and government companies.
The CAG says the allocation made by the steering committee was not transparent and helped many private players. As many as 15 blocks given to private players did not even start production till March 2011.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is also investigating the coal scam. Initial reports of the investigating agency suggest they are looking at the role of state governments in allocating without bidding.