'Coalgate' stir to shut six Metro stations on Sunday

Cops seeks to prevent chaos at Kejriwal-led protest

Six Delhi Metro stations close to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s residence will be shut on Sunday to prevent any chaos or mishap as activist Arvind Kejriwal has given a call for a protest over ‘coalgate’.

Patel Chowk, Central Secretariat, Udyog Bhawan, Race Course and Jor Bagh Metro stations on the Gurgaon-Jahangirpuri route and Khan Market station on the Badarpur-Central Secretariat line will be closed from 8 am to 6 pm. However, interchange passengers can hop on to another train at Central Secretariat without coming out of the station.

“We are closing the stations following a Delhi Police order which states that we need to shut services at these stations due to security reasons,” said a Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) official.

Kejriwal has called for a protest outside the residences of the Prime Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party president Nitin Gadkari, arguing that both the parties are to be blamed for irregular coal block allocations.

The announcement for protest has come after the CAG’s report suggested that the exchequer lost around Rs 1.86 lakh crore due to coal block allocation without competitive bidding during 2005-09.

“We will start the protest at Jantar Mantar at around 10 am  and head towards the residences by 2 pm in two teams. One team will go towards Gadkari’s house and the second team will go to the PM’s residence simultaneously,” said Aswathi Muralidharan, a spokesperson of India Against Corruption movement.

She added that Anna Hazare will not come for this protest as he is not in Delhi. However, supporters are likely to participate in this protest in huge numbers. Members of the supposedly disbanded ‘Team Anna’ — Kiran Bedi, Kumar Vishwas and Manish Sisodia — have confirmed their participation.

Delhi Police was reluctant to confirm that protest was the reason for halting services at six Metro stations. “There are certain issues for which we need to ensure adequate security,” said K C Dwivedi, additional commissioner of police.

Team Anna had decided to form a political party earlier this month and even threatened to file a PIL in the court a week ago to “expose” the UPA on coal block allocations if the government does not constitute a special team to probe the allegations.

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