Newspaper article International New York Times

Indian Court Cancels Coal Field Leases

Newspaper article International New York Times

Indian Court Cancels Coal Field Leases

Article excerpt

An investigation had found that the leases had been sold below market price.

India's top court has canceled years' worth of coal field leases in a judgment that drew wide attention in a nation with persistent fuel shortages.

The leases, an earlier investigation had found, had been sold below market price and cost the government about $30 billion, a scandal that has added to concerns of corruption and crony capitalism at high levels.

The corruption accusations have been particularly damaging to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who headed a government led by the Indian National Congress party and previously was chief of the Coal Ministry for part of the period under investigation.

In a ruling last month, the court found that the government's process of granting coal mining concessions lacked accountability. "On many occasions guidelines had been breached, the approach casual and at times illegal," Chief Justice R.M. Lodha said in that ruling.

On Wednesday, the court upheld its earlier decision and ruled that the coal blocks should be reallocated. …

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