New Delhi, April 11 (IANS) Defending his government in the wake of a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report pointing to lapses in awarding a coal exploration contract, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh said Wednesday the decision on pricing was taken by the Chhattisgarh Mineral Development Corporation (CMDC).
Open tenders were floated in 2007-08 for the coal exploration contract and bidders were asked to quote prices, Raman Singh told a TV channel.
"People came, took part in the competition. Two different blocks were there. A minister does not decide. The board decides in CMDC what rate has been given. CMDC does not have to invest a rupee. All money has to be invested by the developer," he told NDTV.
He said CMDC has 51 percent share in the joint venture. According to Raman Singh, the terms clearly state that the rate provided by the joint venture partner or 51 percent of profit, whichever is more, will be given to CMDC.
The chief minister, who belongs to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has come under attack from the Congress, following the CAG report with the party demanding his resignation.
The Congress has also attacked BJP president Nitin Gadkari and said the coal exploration contract was awarded to a firm linked to Ajay Sancheti, an associate of Gadkari who was elected to the Rajya Sabha last month.
The CAG report last week for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011, said the CMDC accepted lower rates for commercial mining of coal blocks in the state which had led to a revenue loss of over Rs.1,000 crore.
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