155 coal blocks allocated without auction. CAG’s draft report put the loss to the exchequer at Rs 10.67 lakh crores. TOI brought the scam to light. Questions raised in the Parliament. A CBI inquiry followed. Most of the allocations were cancelled.
Till the 1990s, coal mining had mostly been restricted to PSUs and captive mines. From 2004 to 2009, however, the government allocated 155 coal blocks to over 100 commercial entities. In March 2012, TOI broke the news of a CAG draft report that said the government had lost Rs 10.67 lakh crores by not auctioning the coal blocks.
The report created a major political scandal and led to questions in Parliament, a CBI inquiry and more than 40 FIRs. A large number of the allocations were cancelled and even ministers faced conviction. It was the ‘mother of all scams’ – brought to light by The Times of India.