New Delhi: The three Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reports on coal allocation, power and Delhi airport modernisation were tabled in Parliament on Friday. They pegged losses running into thousands of crores, spelling trouble for the government.
About the coal block, the CAG report says that presumptive loss to government from allocation amounts to as much as Rs 1.86 lakh crore, which is higher than the 2G spectrum allocation loss figure.
Though the CAG report remained silent on the role of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), it said that private companies were beneficiaries of the allocation. It has named Tata, Birla and Naveen Jindal group as the chief beneficiaries.
While the CAG pegged losses running into thousands of crores, the opposition termed coal block allocation as the biggest scam by the UPA.
Meanwhile, the CAG report on power said that undue benefit was given to Reliance Power. According to the report, the financial benefit to Reliance Power was about Rs 29,033 crore.
According to the CAG, the bidding documents were diluted to favour Raliance Power. It also said that the company was allowed to use free surplus coal.
The third CAG report on the Delhi International Airport was equally stinging for the government. The report slammed the development fee levied on customers, saying it was in violation of the Airport Authority Act.
The CAG report further questioned the lease of 190 acres for just Rs 6.19 crore. It also said that a total of Rs 4000 crore was lost to the exchequer on the Delhi airport deal.
While the CAG report on coal has said that the loss to the state is bigger than 2G, it also shows uncanny similarities to the 2G report.
Talking about the similarities, over 44 billion tonnes of coal were given away for a song without any bidding. The report also said that no verification was done and no details were sought on end use of the coal block, just a mere recommendation was all that was needed.
In the case of 2G spectrum allocation as well, a policy of first come first serve was adopted and spectrum was given away at 2001 prices.
CAG said that coal allocation to private companies led to a loss of Rs 1.86 lakh crore, due to the delay in changing from a first come first served to auction process. A delay of around six years is factored in the presumptive loss.
The CAG on 2G put the presumptive loss due to first come, first served at Rs 1.76 lakh crore.
Reacting to the report, the Coal Minister said that windfall gain suggested by CAG is fallacious.
Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said, "We may agree with CAG on certain minor points but we do not agree with the calculation of losses estimated by CAG."
In another startling comparison, while most of the 122 players that got the 2G spectrum did not roll out services, for coal also, only 28 of 194 blocks have started production.
The CAG has recommended that coal blocks be auctioned.
So, will the allocation be challenged? And will the Supreme Court step in once again and cancel licences like it did with 2G?
Reacting to the report, the Opposition is gunning for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. As the 2G scan cost two telecom ministers their job, will the coal heat singe the PMO?
Accusing the UPA of indulging in humungous corruption, the Opposition said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was directly responsible for the alleged loss due to the coal block allocation which according to the CAG causes a loss of about Rs 1.86 lakh crore to the state exchequer.
Demanding that the Prime Minister must introspect and quit immediately, the BJP said that the country was doomed if the UPA continued to remain in power.
The Bharatiya Janata Party came down heavily on the UPA government and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the CAG report on coal allocation. BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said the Prime Minister was directly responsible for the loss and must resign.
"Prime Minister is directly responsible. He now cannot hide behind any argument. No Raja or Chidambaram can be used as a shield as in the 2G case," Sushma Swaraj said. BJP leader Arun Jaitley added, "PM must introspect and impose the moral censure of quitting the office."
Lashing out at the UPA government, Sushma Swaraj said, "UPA term is full of corruption, this is the biggest scam by the UPA government."