Newsviewer Exclusive
CBI starts verifying complaint of coal block scam

According to complaints filed by BJP leaders, there was a delay of nearly two years in auctioning process and claims that the ministry had done so to benefit some private players

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has started verifying the allegations of irregularities in the allocation of coal blocks to private companies between 2006 and 2009 and their misuse by them, reports PTI.

The agency received the complaint of BJP leaders Prakash Javadekar and Hansraj Ahir, from the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC). The BJP leaders have alleged that first-come-first-serve basis was adopted by the government to benefit some private companies.

CBI sources said the complaint that has been received has general allegations in which names or individual companies are not mentioned.

"We are happy that CVC has taken cognisance of our complaint. The CVC has written to us saying your complaints have been duly examined in the Commission having regard to the issues raised therein and the same has been forwarded to the CBI for a preliminary inquiry," Javadekar, who was accompanied by Ahir, told reporters.

The complaint also alleges that there was a delay of nearly two years in auctioning process and claims that the ministry had done so to benefit some private players.

The complaint also alleged that allocation of blocks to 156 companies was not proper as they had handed over operations to other companies at a premium.

It is also alleged the allottees of coal blocks did not start production themselves and outsourced the operation to third parties at a premium and pocketing the benefit.

In his complaint, Ahir had alleged that the price of 1,700 crore metric tonne of coal worth Rs51 lakh crore was given almost free to private companies.

In a statement last year, the BJP had alleged revealed that 51 companies were allotted coal blocks in 2006, 19 companies in 2007, 41 companies in 2008 and 32 companies in 2009, at a rate of Rs50 per metric tonne.


Life Exclusive
Usha Uthup looking forward to meaty roles in Bollywood

Usha Uthup has been enthralling listeners for over 40 years now with hit Bollywood tracks like 'Hare Rama Hare Krishna', 'Ek Do Cha Cha Cha' and 'Ramba Ho'. She now wants to do more roles in Hindi films

New Delhi: She took the audience by surprise appearing in “Saat Khoon Maaf” and singer Usha Uthup says she is looking forward to some meaty roles in Bollywood now.

The 64-year-old singer played a loyal help to Priyanka Chopra's character in the film directed by Vishal Bhardwaj. She even lent her voice to the hit song “Darling” in the film.

“I am waiting for good roles, looking for something meaty. In the meantime I have done a bit of acting in Kerala and Bengal. I hope I get some offers in Bollywood, another good role like I did in 'Saat Khoon Maaf',” Usha told PTI.

She has been nominated in the best playback singer category along with Rekha Bhardwaj for the track “Darling” at the upcoming International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards. The song has already got her a Filmfare award this year.

“I hope I win the IIFA award too,” said Usha.

Besides being nominated, the singer is going to perform at the IIFA Rocks in Singapore on 8th June, the night before the awards ceremony. She will be performing in collaboration with Leslie Lewis and Hariharan to mark 100 years of Indian Cinema.

“The combination of me, Hariharan and Leslie Lewis is amazing. Who would imagine the three of us teaming up? Our performance is a tribute to 100 years of Indian Cinema. It's been a real tough call short-listing songs from so many decades and from among hundreds of hit tracks,” she said.

This is the first time she would be collaborating professionally with Lewis and Hariharan. Usha says she is looking forward to the performance as they have been friends for years.

“It is really amazing because we have all been great friends for so long. I have had various opportunities to jam with Leslie when he used to perform at the Oberoi in Mumbai.

“Once in a while he used to bring his guitar along and we would jam together. He is an amazing musician. We’ve never done anything together professionally. This collaboration is something I am really looking forward to,” she said.

She has been enthralling listeners for over 40 years now with hit Bollywood tracks like ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna’, ‘Ek Do Cha Cha Cha’ and ‘Ramba Ho’. She recently sung for “Kahaani” and “Don 2” besides “Saat Khoon Maaf”.

Usha says her singing career is the most happening right now. “I have been working since 1968, its been over 40 years now. People ask me, ‘What? You are still singing?’

“But its not ‘still’, it’s only now that I have really started singing, now that things are really happening. It's just fantastic. I couldn't have asked for anything better.

“I get very excited when people are shocked by my energy and my passion for work. I know that I am quite an inspiration for the younger generation. They work so hard and I do believe I am a source of inspiration for them as they think, ‘If she can do it at that age, we can do too’.”

Usha says she is busy travelling and performing stage shows besides appearing in reality shows.

“I am busy with a lot of shoots, reality shows. My basic thing is the stage, I keep performing. Between travelling, trying to take a nap on the flight and working on the shows, it’s just an amazing life. I couldn't ask for anything more. Life is really on a high right now," she said.


Economy & Nation Exclusive
Indian Railways: A Death Trap?

Another railway accident has happened. As former railway minister Dinesh Trivedi revealed in...

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