PM need not seek immunity: MoS

Union Minister of State in PMO V Narayanasamy said here on Saturday that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh did not try to seek any “immunity” from possible criminal action in the wake of complaints reportedly filed by the BJP Yuva Morcha in several police stations across the country holding Singh “responsible” for the scam in the allocation of huge coal blocks.

“That news (on the prime minister seeking immunity and turning to the attorney general for advice on it) is not correct; we are all bound by the rule of Law,” Narayanasamy told a news conference here on Saturday.

The event was part of a programme of a six-member group of ministers recently appointed by Singh to take the achievements and the latest slew of economic reforms of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) to the people.

Narayanasamy said the prime minister could not be held directly responsible for the impugned actions. Already two government committees were looking into the issue of whether a “breach of rules has taken place or not” in coal blocks allocation for mining to private firms.

If complaints or FIRs filed against the prime minister are found to be without any evidence or unsupported by documents, “they will be rejected,” he said.
Narayanasamy indicated that the prime minister need not seek immunity.

Police complaints reportedly made by the Yuva Morcha “is unwanted” and only shows the “total frustration” on the BJP’s part, he pointed out. The saffron party had disrupted the last session of Parliament. It had also tried in vain to “destabilise”  the government.

Narayanasamy defended the government decision to allow foreign direct investments (FDI) up to 51 per cent by to set up a chain of multi-brand retail stores in the country. He said enough safeguards have been provided in the new policy to protect small traders and retailers. States have been given the option in the implementation of the new policy.

Thirty-five per cent of India’s agriculture-horticulture produce perish annually due to lack of cold storage facilities. The foreign investors will bring the much-needed investments and build infrastructure. Farmers will also get cheap, interest-free loans from retailers.

Narayanasamy conceded that even some of UPA’s close allies like the DMK now opposed FDI in multi-brand retail, though it was party to the Cabinet decision. But “we will reach out to our allies, including the DMK, convince them and I am confident we will win over them,” he asserted.

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