India's scandal-plagued government lost hundreds of billions of dollars by selling coalfields to companies without competitive bidding, according to a leaked audit report.
Angry lawmakers blocked proceedings in parliament on Thursday after the findings by India's Comptroller and Auditor General were printed by The Times of India newspaper.
Outraged opposition party leaders demanded an explanation from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of why about 155 coalfields were sold to select private and state-run companies without competitive bidding, resulting in an estimated loss of nearly $210 billion.
Singh's government has been repeatedly embarrassed in recent years as senior ministers and officials faced corruption charges stemming from the hosting of the 2010 Commonwealth Games and the sale of cellphone spectrum — also without competitive bidding — that auditors said lost the country billions of dollars.
The auditors' draft report said the allocation of the coalfields between 2004 and 2009 had resulted in windfall gains of $97 billion for around 100 companies.
Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal refused to respond to the leaked report.
He said the government had followed a "transparent" policy of issuing advertisements for the allocation of the coal blocks.
He said state governments were consulted and all responses to the advertisements were screened by a committee before they were sold.