GUWAHATI, Oct 31 � A major scam in distribution of coal at subsidized rate to the small and marginal users came to the fore with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probing it and the Bureau today filed chargesheet against two persons in this connection. The conservative loss to the Government exchequer because of the scam has been estimated to the tune of at least Rs 3.50 crore. The CBI has also written to the Government for taking departmental action against an officer of the Coal India Limited in connection with the scam.
Giving details of the case, CBI sources told The Assam Tribune that the Coal India Limited allotted 36,000 metric tonne of coal from its North Eastern Coalfields, Margherita as per fuel supply agreement with the Assam Government during the period from 2008-10. The coal at subsidized rate of Rs 3345 per MT was to be supplied to the small and marginal users like brick kilns, tea estates etc, whose annual consumption is 4200 MT or below.
Sources said that the State Government first asked the Assam Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) to carry out the job of distribution of coal, but later the Assam Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (AIIDC) was entrusted with the responsibility of distribution of coal among the small and marginal users.
CBI sources revealed that the then Managing Director of the AIIDC, Nur Mohammad allowed Naveen Gupta alias Naveen Singhal of the M/S Mahalaxmi Continental Limited, that too without signing any formal agreement with the company. For the first quarter, the company issued advertisements and distributed around 8,000 MT of coal to the small and marginal users of the state. But later, no such advertisement was issued and a fake list of 84 beneficiaries was prepared and the coal was sold in the open market at a much higher price.
During the investigation, the CBI came to know that at least 15,000 MT of coal was diverted and sold in the open market at a much higher price, thus depriving the real beneficiaries. This also resulted in a huge loss to the exchequer as the Coal India could have earned at least Rs 5,000 per MT by selling the coal through e auction, while, the price in the open market is even higher.
The CBI today filed chargesheet against the then AIIDC MD Nur Mohammad and Naveen Gupta in connection with the case, while it has also written to the Government for departmental action against Deepa Kumar K, the then area Sales Manager of the North Eastern Coalfields of the Coal India. Sources said that as per the guidelines of the distribution of coal at subsidized rate, a monthly report on coal distribution should be submitted to the Government and Coal India, but no report was submitted by the AIIDC or the company engaged by it. Because of the lapse, the Coal India should have stopped supplies, but that was not done and the area Sales manager is responsible for the lapse.
CBI sources further said that earlier, such a case in connection with distribution of coal at subsidized rate was unearthed by the CBI and in that case also Naveen Gupta was chargesheeted as one of the accused.