After a draft report by the Comptroller and Auditor General saying the government had foregone revenues of Rs 10 lakh crore by not auctioning the blocks was leaked, most public discussions had pivoted around two themes. One, why did UPA1 ignore the suggestion of the then-Coal Secretary to allot blocks through auctions, preferring instead to hand them out through a discretionary process involving the screening committee? And two, on the politicians whose friends and family members were allotted coal blocks. So overwhelming was the media glare on these two issues that larger questions got obscured.
Here. The opinion piece I wrote after finishing all the reportage on coalgate. This is the story which seeks to pull all the threads from our reporting on coal into a single coherent narrative.