TN Electricity Minister refutes Rs 1000 crore coal purchase scam allegation

An NGO said that TANGEDCO allegedly paid Rs 1,000 crore more to the contractor who was responsible for handling coal from the Vizag Port.
TN Electricity Minister refutes Rs 1000 crore coal purchase scam allegation
TN Electricity Minister refutes Rs 1000 crore coal purchase scam allegation
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A day after an anti-corruption NGO released reports alleging a Rs 1000 crore scam in the purchase of coal in Tamil Nadu, state Electricity Minister P Thangamani refuted the same, stating that there were no irregularities.

According to Arappor Iyakkam, the anti-corruption NGO, Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) allegedly paid Rs 1,000 crore more to South India Corporation Limited, the contractor responsible for the movement and handling of coal from the Vishakapatnam Port between 2011 and 2016. The NGO alleged that invoicing of the services provided by the port led to the discovery of irregularities to the tune of Rs 1000 crore.

DMK President and Leader of the Opposition MK Stalin had also slammed the Minister over the irregularities. According to Deccan Chronicle, at a press conference in Chennai on Thursday, the Minister said that three government officials had been suspended for allegedly colluding with a private power generation company and causing a loss of Rs 11 crore to TANGEDCO.

“There was no 'scam,' as Stalin claims. It was a demand notice served to a private player for utilising state's infrastructure, called wheeling charges. It was found out in the state electricity department's internal audit and appropriate action has been taken against three officials,” Thangamani said.

"I wish to clarify that it was not a case of the department shelling out money when there was no procurement, instead, it was a demand notice from the department about power purchase between two projects for which monies are owed to the department," he added.

According to the Times of India, when Minister P Thangamani was asked about a Vishakapatnam-based coal contractor whom the government had employed for a long period of time, he cited a stay order granted by the Madras High Court which reportedly prevents the government from identifying new contractors.

According to TOI, TANGEDCO Chairman and Managing Director Vikram Kapur himself admitted that the 13-year-old stay order was 'ridiculous' and that they were attempting to vacate the stay and float a tender to identify new contractors.

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