(Dr EAS Sarma)
For some time, I have been requesting the AP State govt and the Central investigating agencies to look into the possibility of serious irregularities in the case of import of coal by APGENCO.
My fears are corroborated now by the fact that CBI has filed FIRs against some PSUs and private companies as evident from news reports. The latest reports of CBI investigation refer to coal imported by APGENCO in 2010.
Apparently, a PSU, namely, National Consumers Cooperative Federation (NCCF) was directly involved in it. APGENCO had imported coal even before 2010 and continues to import coal even now in large quantities. I feel that APGENCO’s own officers, as well as some senior State officials, were also involved in the coal import scam all through, as I have been alerting the State govt time and again. This needs to be investigated by the State investigating agencies urgently, in consultation with the Central agencies such as CBI and ED.
In this connection, the following aspects need to be scrutinized.
In the case of the FIR filed by CBI against NCCF officials, it is possible that both APGENCO officials and some senior officers of the State govt are also simultaneously involved. Had they exercised due diligence in scrutinizing the tender process, they could have sensed the irregularity and prevented the same. The fact that they remained silent makes them suspect.
1.The reasons that persuaded APGENCO to resort to such large coal imports in 2010, also prior to that year and even subsequent to that year, in preference to getting coal from CIL and Singareni, need to be investigated. Did they resort to excessive imports to benefit some private companies?=
2. Apart from the tender irregularities, it is known that many companies having coal mines in Indonesia and elsewhere had deliberately over-invoiced coal supplies to APGENCO and others. CBI and ED are investing this separately. What is the role of the officers of APGENCO in this? Had APGENCO ever tried to approach CBI/ED to safeguard its own interests?=
3. At one stage, private generating companies in AP had asked APGENCO to supply them coal from its own stocks and it appears that APGENCO had obliged them but, in turn, resorted to importing coal. This implies a two-fold impropriety committed by APGENCO, benefitting not only private generating companies in AP but also private coal suppliers of coal imported from Indonesian and other sources.=
4. It appears that junior officers of APGENCO had raised objections in many of these cases but it was the seniors who overruled them to benefit some private companies. this needs an investigation.=
5. As a result of this coal import scam, it is the electricity consumers in AP who have had to bear the extra cost for no fault of theirs. If the investigations establish irregularities/ improprieties committed by the public functionaries in AP, amounts equivalent to the cost differential should be recovered from them along with a deterrent penalty and reimbursed to the electricity consumers. Of course, those responsible should also be prosecuted.
I request the state government to order an independent investigation urgently, place the finding of the same in the public domain and compensate, the electricity consumers appropriately.
(Contents of the letter Dr EAS Sarma, former secretary, GOI wrote to Nilam Sawhney, chief secretary, GOAP)