Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Coal beneficiaries donated big to political parties

Coal beneficiaries donated big to political parties

This is the photograph of Navin Jindal.

He is a Congress MP.

He had won for Indians the right to fly the Indian Flag on their cars.

He is also the one who had whole-heartedly supported the khap panchayats of Haryana in all their criminal activities

Each new revelation in the coal scam appears to provide more and more fodder to those who have termed it a classic case of crony capitalism.

It now turns out that the private companies which benefited from the allocation of coal blocks by the government also happen to be the most prominent donors to the two big national parties.

According to a report recently released by the Association for Democratic Reforms, private companies have contributed immensely to the coffers of the Congress as well as the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL), which has been allocated as many as 12 coal blocks, donated Rs.1.05 crore to the Congress party between 2004-05 and 2009-10. JSPL is owned by Congress MP Naveen Jindal.

"It is obvious the UPA government has continuously favoured Jindal's group as he is one of their own," BJP MP Hansraj Ahir told Mail Today. Sterlite Energy Ltd, which was given a coal block in Orissa in 2008, donated Rs.1 crore to the Congress in 2004-05 and Rs.5 crore in 2009-10. Interestingly, Madras Aluminium, which like Sterlite is a subsidiary of the Vedanta Group, donated Rs.3.5 crore to the BJP. Firms associated with the Adani Group are said to have donated Rs.2.5 crore to the Congress and Rs.2.75 crore to the BJP between 2004-05 and 2009-10. Adani Power was allocated a coal block in Wardha, Maharashtra in 2007.

ACC Ltd, which has been given a coal block in Raniganj, West Bengal, donated Rs.1 crore to the BJP in 2008-09. On the other hand, Essar, which was allocated two blocks in Jharkhand and one in Madhya Pradesh, donated Rs.75 lakh to the Congress in 2004-05.

Tata Sons, whose entities like Tata Steel, Tata Power and Tata Sponge Iron have been allocated four coal blocks also made handsome donations through the Electoral Trust which it established in 1996.

On the basis of the report, there appears to be a slight preference for non-Congress parties as the Electoral Trust donated Rs.6.8 crore to the BJP, Rs.1.58 crore to Samajwadi Party and a little over Rs.30 lakh to the Janata Dal (United).

Communist Party of India leader D. Raja believes private donations to political parties provides a pretext for crony capitalism, especially as many of the firms end up benefiting from government policies. "We have been demanding that there should be state funding of elections as recommended by the Indrajit Gupta committee, but no party is interested," Raja, who incidentally donates a portion of MP's salary to his party, said.

CBI begins questioning

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has begun the questioning of key players in the coal scam in which the agency has registered five cases till now.

According to sources in the agency, Arvind Jayaswal one of the directors of AMR Iron and Steel Private Limited was grilled by investigators on Monday.

Sources said Arvind's questioning focused on the meeting between representatives of the company and the then minister of coal Santosh Bagrodia held in the minister's chamber on September 18, 2008.

The company had claimed it was not part of Jayaswal's group in the meeting.

Arvind is the brother of mining baron Manoj Jayaswal. All three Jayaswal brothers - Arvind, Manoj and Ramesh - have been named in the first information reports filed by the agency and are directors of AMR Iron and Steel.

The grilling also revolved around the company's claims regarding misrepresentation of facts such as net worth claims and concealing of some vital facts.

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