(AP) India's national auditor says the government lost huge sums of money by selling coalfields to private companies without competitive bidding.
A report by the Comptroller and Auditor General tabled in Parliament on Friday revealed that 142 coal fields were sold since July 2004 to private and state-run companies.
The report estimated that the private companies got a windfall profit of $34 billion because of the low prices they paid for the fields. The report said an auction would have given the government some of that money.
The auditors said the allocations lacked transparency and were made on the recommendation of state governments. They exonerated Prime Minister Manmohan Singh even though he was running the coal ministry at the time.