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Auditor may lower coal mine sale losses to $33b

Published By United Press International
NEW DELHI, May 22 (UPI Asia) -- An independent statutory auditor will likely lower its estimate of losses to $33 billion (1.8 trillion rupees) suffered by the Indian government in the sale of coal mine licenses between 2004 and 2009.

An interim report by the Comptroller and Auditor General earlier calculated that the losses may have been nearly $200 billion (10.67 trillion rupees), but the final figure may be less than sixth of that, The Times of India reported Tuesday.

The report, first published two months ago, triggered a political attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government that has suffered several other corruption scandals for the last two years.

The CAG denied at the time that the figure would be that high.

The losses pertain to the sale of some 155 mines to some 100 private companies. The auditor's report suggests that the government gave out undue benefits to the entrepreneurs that bought the licenses.

The newspaper said the lower figure was obtained by taking out the state-owned corporations from the list. The government argued before the CAG that government-owned corporations were separately audited.

CAG Vinod Rai rejected the criticism from the government that his report contained errors.
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Race winner Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain (C) stands between second place finisher Christopher Froome of Great Britain (L) and third place finisher Vincenzo Nibali of Italy on the presentation podium following the final stage of the Tour de France in Paris on July 22, 2012. Wiggins of Great Britain became that country's first ever overall winner of the Tour de France. UPI/David Silpa