Naveen Jindal-promoted Jindal Steel and Power Ltd and Gagan Sponge Iron got the Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in 2007, despite Sushilkumar Shinde, then power minister, pushing the case of Bhushan Energy for the right to 50 per cent of the reserves.
Shinde’s recommendations were sent to none other than Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Bhushan Energy, a group company of Bhushan Steel, is promoted by Brij Bhushan Singhal.
Days after the secreening committee headed by the coal secretary had recommended allocation to JSPL and Gagan Sponge in September 2007, Shinde had written to Singh when Bhushan Energy took up the matter with him. Repeated calls to Bhushan Energy’s New Delhi office went unanswered.
Bhushan Energy had complained that its case for a coal block was ignored when 32 companies, of which 10 companies allegedly did not have better rating than it, were allotted blocks. Among the companies that were named by Bhushan Energy for having lower rating were Gagan Sponge, Green Infrastructure, RKM Power, JLD Yavatmal, Vandana Vidyut Energy, DB Power, SKS Ispat and Jas Infrastructure.
The Central Bureau of Investigation has registered cases against two of these companies — Jas Infrastructure and JLD Yavatmal.
The Amarkonda Murgadangal block also figures on the Comptroller and Auditor General’s list of 57 blocks that were allotted to private companies.
Shinde’s letter had said 50 per cent of the coal from the block could have created 1,000-Mw capacity, in line with the norm followed by the screening panel. The panel’s decision to allot mines to around 30 companies, including JSPL and Gagan Sponge Himchal Emta and JSW Steel, came after three rounds of meetings in June, July and September 2007.