1. Coal auction: Govt cacels 4 blocks amid speculation of cartelisation; Jindal Steel emerges biggest loser

Coal auction: Govt cacels 4 blocks amid speculation of cartelisation; Jindal Steel emerges biggest loser

'Coal Ministry will deliberate before taking the final decision on the rejected bids,' Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal said.

By: | New Delhi | Updated: March 21, 2015 2:37 PM
coal auction, coal block auction, coal bill, Jindal Steel

Jindal Steel and Power, controlled by former lawmaker Naveen Jindal and one of the biggest beneficiaries of the previous method of coal block allocation that the Supreme Court ruled illegal, has now become the biggest loser with three of its bids rejected. (Reuters)

The government has cancelled bids of Jindal Steel and Power (JSPL) and BALCO for four coal blocks amid speculation of cartelisation and said it will take a final decision on these mines after deliberations.

“Department (Coal ministry) will take the final decision on the rejected bids, it will deliberate and then decide,” Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal said today.

When asked whether these blocks will be re-auctioned or allotted to Coal India, Goyal said the department will take a call on it. He was speaking on the sidelines of an event of Indian Chambers of Commerce.

The Coal Ministry, had late last night, rejected the bids of Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) and Balco for four blocks amid reports of speculation of cartelisation during the recent coal block auction.

The government was re-examining the bids for nine coal blocks, including those where Jindal Steel & Power (JSPL) and Balco emerged top bidders in the recently held auction.

“Bids for Gare Palma IV/1, IV/2, IV/3 and Tara coal blocks not accepted,” Coal Secretary Anil Swarup had tweeted early on Saturday.

Government takes decision on bids for 9 coal blocks after examination. Bids for 5 blocks accepted.

Jindal Power had emerged as successful bidder for Gare IV/2, Gare Palma IV/3 and Tara coal blocks, while Bharat Aluminium Company (Balco) had successfully bid for Gare Palma IV/1 coal block.

However, bids for five other blocks have been accepted, Swarup said.

There had been reports that some bidders could have indulged in cartelisation to keep the prices low for the concerned mines.

“In the schedule II, we were looking at four mines and in schedule III we are looking at five mines … Prima facie we found that it requires a re-examination, so it has been re-examined that is about all,” Swarup had earlier said.

The bids that were re-examined also included Marki Mangli III block, which was bagged by BS Ispat.

While insisting that the government “has not looked at any such thing as cartelisation or anything of such sort”, the secretary had said: “I have used the word ‘outliers’. There is a pattern and if somebody falls outside that pattern that needs a examination.

“Whether it is a cartelisation or not it not something which I can say as of now. We are certainly not examining these aspects. We are examining if there is an outlier, the reason for it, and then we will take a call”, he had said.

So far, a total of 33 coal blocks have been auctioned in two tranches. While in the first lot 19 coal mines were auctioned, in the second lot 14 coal blocks went under the hammer.

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