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Govt. clears its stand on Coal scam; FM says CAG report was only draft report

New Delhi, Thu, 22 Mar 2012 NI Wire

Facing the severe criticism from opposition over the issue of 'leaked' CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) report on an alleged illegal allocation of coal mine blocks that have hurt the central exchequer to a loss of Rs.10.7-lakh Crore, the government has tried to cool down the situation by stating that it was not the CAG's audit report but a draft report which is still under preparation.

Calming down the Members of Parliament in Lok Sabha who has created uproar after publishing a news in Times of India on Thursday with the headlines 'Government lost Rs. 10.7 lakh cr by not auctioning coal blocks: CAG', Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said that CAG's report is only a draft.

Assuring the MPs over their demand to put it (the draft) on the table of both houses of the Parliament, FM said, " it will be placed on the table of (both Houses) Parliament."

The CAG too has virtually disowned it report and send a letter to Prime Minister Officer (PMO) stating that the leaked media report was misleading, PMO said in a released statement.

'There was no loss to the exchequer in the allocations of 155 coal blocks across the country between 2004 and 2009, which appeared in the media. The loss figure of Rs.10.7 lakh crore is misleading as the audit report on coal blocks is still under preparation,' PMO statement said as CAG informed to PMO.

Times of India in its published report has stated that as per 'leaked' CAG report, during 2004 to 2009, 155 coal blocks were allocated to 100 private and public sector companies without going through the process of auctioning that cause a 'windfall gain' of Rs.6.31 lakh crore (PSUs - Rs 3.37 lakh crore and private parties - Rs 2.94 lakh crore) as on March 31, 2011. The calculation was based on the prices prevailing during the year of allocation on constant cost and at today's exchange rate, it reaches to Rs 10.67 lakh crore (PSUs - Rs 5.88 lakh crore and private parties - Rs 4.79 lakh crore).

Earlier, both houses of Parliament were adjourned till afternoon, when the opposition began uproar over the published news and asked the clarification of the government over India's so far alleged 'biggest' scam.

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