The recent Coal block auctions turned out to be a resounding success for the government, who has managed to mop up close to Rs. 2 lakh crore from it, but it did not come without its fair share of controversy. The bids of companies such as Adani Power and GMR for Gare Palma-IV/2&3 have come under the scanner, and is now being considered to be referred to the Competition Commission of India (CCI), as some news reports have suggested.
Although Anil Swarup, Coal Secretary has mentioned on record saying that there were a few 'outliers' and the government is monitoring the bids closely, so there is no concern for any mismanagement, the bids of Jindal Power have been under intense scrutiny. During the auctions, Jindal Power emerged as the lowest bidder for the Gare Palma block. The company was the owner of the coal block before a Supreme Court (SC) order of deallocation.
Now the needle of suspicion turns towards Jindal Power as the logs of auction show that Adani Power Maharashtra Ltd and GMR Chhattisgarh Energy Ltd had pulled out of the bidding process after putting only one negative bid each. If that is true, an anti-competitive behaviour case under Section 3 of the Competition Act, 2002, could be invoked.