New Delhi, Oct 8 (PTI) The Congress on Thursday alleged that Rs 40,000 crore worth of iron ore pellets were exported in violation of rules by some private players, causing losses to the state exchequer, and demanded that names of these entities be made public.
Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera alleged that the Modi government changed export laws to “favour some corporates” after it assumed power in 2014.
The government removed the 64 per cent concentration cap on iron ore and allowed public-sector Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Limited (KIOCL) to export the ore to countries like China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan, he alleged.
Khera cited a note of the Ministry of Law and Justice, issued on September 10, specifying that permission to export iron ore pellets was only given to KIOCL and not to any other entity. Those who exported precious iron ore, were doing it in contravention of rules, the note said.
The Congress leader alleged that private players exported iron ore pellets while not paying 30 per cent export duty to the exchequer and took advantage of the new law.
'By not paying the export duty the private players have robbed the government of around Rs 12,000 crore in duty fee. Under the Foreign Trade Development and Regulation Act 1992, these private players are liable to a penalty of Rs 2,00,000 crores for this gross illegality,' Khera told reporters.
It is estimated that these private firms have exported iron ore worth Rs 40,000 crore since 2014 violating laws as they did not have the licence to export the ore, Khera alleged, adding that these private players were not even reprimanded or questioned by the central government.
He alleged that “this government works for the benefit of a select few' and said, 'we demand that an investigation must be initiated to expose the corruption since 2014 and how officials in the steel ministry allowed this theft in broad daylight'.
'Why was high quality iron ore with greater than 64 per cent iron concentration allowed to be exported contrary to earlier practices? Which private firms have exported iron ore without permission since 2014? A detailed list must be made public,' he said.
Khera also asked what action has been initiated, if any, against the officials of the steel ministry who allowed such illegal export to take place and whether the change in policy of removing export duty for iron ore pellets was done in consultation with all stakeholders. PTI SKC ANB ANB