Free Press Journal

JPL moves HC against CIL move to takeover its plant


Coal Scam

New Delhi: Jindal Power Ltd today moved the Delhi High Court against CIL’s order to hand over its coal washery and related plant facilities, near two coal mines in Chhattisgarh, which the company claimed as “essential for continued operations” of its thermal power plant there. The High Court had on March 27 made Coal India Ltd (CIL) the custodian of the Gare Palma IV/2 and IV/3 mines, after the government had on March 20 annulled the tender with respect to the two.

Jindal Power Ltd (JPL) had placed the winning bid for the two mines. The application of JPL was mentioned before a bench of justices B D Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva which told CIL “don’t do anything that is irreversible”. The matter was mentioned before the court during hearing of the company’s main petition challenging the government’s decision to annul its bids for the two mines.

The court listed the application for hearing on April 16 while the main petition was adjourned to May 7. In its application, JPL said that CIL and South Eastern Coalfields Ltd (SECL), which has been tasked with management and operation of the mines, directed it on March 31 to hand over its washery and other plant facilities. It has sought an order from the court clarifying that its March 27 interim order by which CIL was made custodian does not permit the PSU or SECL to take over the plant facilities.

The private company has also claimed that the government in its tender document had said that the 30.156 hectares of plant area is excluded from the mining area. Earlier the court had termed as “unfair” the government’s decision to annul the bids and held there was no evidence of cartelisation in their auction.

JPL has, in its main plea, sought the quashing of the March 20 order of the government cancelling the bids of the company and Bharat Aluminium Company (Balco) for four coal blocks amid speculation of cartelisation. Balco too has challenged the order separately. The government was re-examining the bids for nine coal blocks, including those in which JPL and Balco had emerged as top bidders in the recently-held auction.

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