Coalgate, coal block scams and Former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh’s alleged role in this scam is often the talk of the town. Despite many squabbles and conferences, role of Dr. Singh in the scam, if any, was not clear to many.
DR. SINGH’S ROLE IN COAL SCAM
The above statement is not spoken in any light manner and hold many deep meanings. A critical examination of the above statment can answer most of our questions but certainly there are some other questions that still remain unanswered.
We all know what exaclty the whole case of coal scam was. But for those of you who don’t know what it was : Coal allocation scam or Coalgate was the unathorised allocation of coal blocks to various private companies and public sector entities. Instead of allocating coal blocks on the basis of proper bidding process, they were allocated on mere instructions issued by the Screening Committe for screening proposals. This obviously provided ‘windfall gains’ to the companies and the government’s revenue reduced considerably.
All the illegal and unfair allocations were made during the period 2004-2009 under Dr. Singh’s government. The coal blocks were issued to many popular and reputed firms at much lower prices that resulted in loss for the government. Dr. Manmohan Singh was then the Coal Minister. The main problem arised when these were issued on the approval of general Screening Committee when the bidding procedure could’ve been opted for. Obviously it was for the malicious desires of some high officials to earn unauthorised gains that the whole scandle happened with much of ease.
Dr. Singh’s name came into picture when one of firms involved in the scam along with then coal secretary, H.C. Gupta elaborated upon Singh’s responsibilty in the whole process. He demanded that if he being the administrative head of the ministry can be prosecuted then why not Dr. Singh when he was the Minister. It was not only Mr. Gupta pleading equality, there were many other participants that demanded the same. Mr Santosh Bagrodia, the Minister for State of Coal along with many others claimed the same thing.
CBI, though in one of the reports submitted to Supereme Court also said that Singh’s case was different. Many people claimed that he was “aware” of all the processes being conducted in the department but he didn’t speak or tried to stop anything. Due to lack of evidence on Singh’s part, he got a clean chit from CBI. But there are still some facts that are unopened or digged deep that no one came to know about and the whole case stands still. If the senior officials of the ministry were involved in such an illegal operation, then it is quite naive of anyone to believe that these reports were not seen by the Head of the Department. Several allegations were thrown on Dr. Singh and CBI in one of their reports accepted that there was something disturbing on his part. It said, “Singh did not tinker with any process of screening committee” which “suggests that he was part of any conspiracy”.
Many blamed him for his careless behaviour but lack of evidence made his case strong. Some people also believe that it was the strategy of the accused to delay the trial process and proceedings of the court. However all the allocations today stand cancelled and the matter is still pending in the court.