Coalgate: SC puts probing questions to Govt on allocation policy
In what is likely to be a big blow to the UPA II government, the Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to the Centre on alleged irregularities in coal block allocations. The apex court has granted the government eight weeks time to file its response on the same.
The Supreme Court asked the govt what action it proposes to take against illegal allotments and those allottees who breached the contract. The apex court has asked the coal secretary to file affidavit answering 6 questions on a PIL seeking cancellation of all 194 coal mine blocks under controversy.
The apex court's posers to the government includes —
*Why competitive bidding process was not followed for allocation of coal blocks?
*What were the guidelines for allocation of coal blocks and whether there was any deviation during actual allocation?
*Why so many politicians and their relatives figure among the alleged irregular allottees?
*Whether the guidelines for allocation overlooked the safety mechanism to render the allotments as largesse in favour of private parties?
*Whether govt's objective in coal block allocation has been achieved through the present mode of allocation, which was faulted by the CAG?
Turning down the Centre's plea that the court should not go into the issue as it is being looked into by a Parliamentary committee, the apex court said "these are different exercises." A bench of justices R M Lodha and A R Dave said the petition raised serious questions and "it requires explanation from the government".
"There is difference in exercise done by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). Parliament and PAC can proceed with the issue on the basis of the CAG report. We don't want to encroach upon their exercise but the petition raises different things altogether. There are sufficient averments which require explanation from you," the court said.
- Asian Tribune -