Man who uncovered coal scam wants Coal India in charge
Expressing his happiness at the apex court's order on the allocation of coal blocks, BJP MP Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, whose persistent enquiries had uncovered the scam, says the blocks should be allocated to government-run Coal India Ltd.
Speaking to IANS over phone, Ahir said: "It is a landmark judgment. I am extremely happy at the apex court's decision holding that the allocation of coal blocks were illegal. The allocations should be cancelled."
In the same vein, he added: "I will be more happier if the coal block allocations are cancelled and reallocated to Coal India, the public sector company."
According to Ahir, the judgment will ensure that nobody would dare to grab the country's natural resources in this manner.
The Supreme Court Monday held that the coal blocks allocated from 1993 onwards were illegal, arbitrary, non-transparent and were devoid of any procedure.
Ahir, who represents Chandrapur parliamentary constituency in Maharashtra, is the man who blew the whistle on the coal block allocation scam of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime.
"I wrote 12-13 letters to then prime minister Manmohan Singh on the irregularities in the coal blocks allocation. All I got was just an acknowledgment," he said.
The first letter was written in 2006.
The 59-year-old Ahir got wind of the irregularities in the allocation as a member of the Standing Committee on Coal, Steel and Mines in the then Lok Sabha.
Ahir, one of the top performing MPs in the Lok Sabha, also reported the irregularities to the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) which started its own probe.
The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) also ordered a probe on his complaint.
Meanwhile the apex court suggested setting up a committee headed by a retired apex court judge to examine what should be done for the re-allocation of these coal blocks. It, however, made it clear that this was just a suggestion and it was open to a better option.
The next hearing will be held Sep 1 to consider the question of setting up a committee that will go into the allocation of coal blocks and how it should be done.
(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at email@example.com)
(Posted on 25-08-2014)