BJP demands probe into MSSIDC coal scam

Nagpur: The BJP unit here has demanded a CBI probe into the alleged Rs 100-crore Coal scam in the state-owned Maharashtra Small Scale Industrial Development Corporation (MSSIDC) and demanded action against those involved.

The Corporation controlled by Industries department is entitled to a coal quota of 80,000 tonnes of coal per month for supply to small units like brick kilns, dal mills and small steel units. But there have been rampant complaints of the quota being misused and coal being lifted in names of non-existent and bogus units to be sold on premium in the market, the BJP has alleged.

BJP State spokesman Girish Vyas, Party General Secretary Prabhakar Yeole and City unit President Anil Sole told reporters here yesterday that irregularities have been going on for years in MSSIDC but the government has failed to stop them.

"The Coal Scam of MSSIDC has run into approximately Rs 100 crores and involvement of top officials can not be ruled out and hence the party is demanding a CBI probe into this," they said.

Also, the state government shifted the Managing Director D G Phillps after media reports surfaced against him about his involvement. Instead of taking deterrent action against local company (Mohit Minerals, which was appointed as the handling agent) allegedly involved in the scam, the government released the Rs 15-crore bank guarantee of the coal handler, they said.

Vyas, releasing relevant documents to press alleged that Mohit Minerals was given the relief after a decision taken by Maharashtra Industry Minister Narayan Rane on November 11.

This was despite a firm assurance given by the Minister on the floor of the State Legislature that the bank guarantee of the erring firm would be frozen. To a question raised in Legislative Council by Prabhakar Nevle (BJP), Rane had specifically stated that action was being taken against Philips and some other officials for the irregularities on coal supply through MSSIDC.

The BJP functionaries said Rane failed to keep the promise and released the bank guarantee amount of the company. The Coal handler has been accused of charging a premium of Rs 300 per tonne illegally from units entitled to Coal supply.

The party filed a PIL last year in this regard in the Bombay High Court, Vyas said adding it will come up for next hearing on February 29. "We have annexed additional documents of favour shown to the firm by Rane," said Vyas.

Two years ago, MLA and State BJP President Sudhir Mugantiwar had also written to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan demanding stringent action against those involved in irregularities in MSSIDC. "Apparently, no action has been taken," said Vyas who has also filed a police complaint against Philips for threatening him.