Unfair to hold PM responsible for 'coalgate': Moily

Unfair to hold PM responsible for 'coalgate': Moily

Defending Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Corporate Affairs and Power Minister M Veerappa Moily today said it was "unfair" to hold him responsible for 'coalgate' as it was a collective decision of the Screening Committee to allocate coal blocks.

"The applications for coal block allocations were examined and evaluated by a broad-based Steering Committee with representatives from state governments, related ministries of the central government and coal companies.

"That the decision was that of many participants in the Screening Committee, it is unfair to hold Prime Minister responsible for coalgate," he told reporters here. The policy of allocation of coal blocks to private parties, which the CAG has criticised, was not a new policy introduced by the UPA, Moily said, adding, previous governments including NDA also allocated coal blocks through the screening committee.

Moily said the CAG report on coal block allocations will be referred to Parliament's Public Accounts Committee and later tabled in the Lok Sabha. The CAG report had estimated an undue benefit of Rs 1.86 lakh crore to private firms in allocation of 57 coal blocks between 2005 and 2009 without competitive bidding.

The Prime Minister had yesterday promised that issues raised in the CAG report would not be "swept under the carpet" and necessary "corrective action" will be taken even as he lashed out at BJP for pursuing obstructionist politics.