BJP seeks PM's resignation over coal scam

The Oppn party's call came after ex-coal secretary said files were approved by Singh
Last Updated 16 October 2013, 20:01 IST

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday renewed its demand for the resignation of the Prime Minister stating that Manmohan Singh cannot escape responsibility for having signed the contract for the allotment of coal blocks to the Kumar Mangalam Birla-owned Hindalco.

The opposition party’s call came in the wake of a remark by former coal secretary P C Parakh, a whistleblower-turned-accused in the case, that the prime minister should be made a co-accused if the CBI has booked him for favouring an industrialist in giving contracts.

"Today, a surprising development has taken place where, in a bizarre instance, an FIR has been lodged against the officer who suggested that the auction route should be adopted in coal block allocations and even prepared a Cabinet note on it," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar told reporters.

The BJP was of the view that had the UPA government agreed to Parakh’s 2004 proposal the scam would not have happened. But the Singh government held back the Cabinet note to allow the arbitrary allotment of coal blocks, it believes.

“Right from day one, the BJP has been demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as he was the then Coal Minister under whose signature and seal the monumental scam happened.

In the bizarre allotment, neither the state exchequer got any benefit nor did the ultimate consumer receive any benefit by way of cheap power. The only beneficiary seems to be the ruling party. This is the monumental corruption which the Congress-led government is desperately trying now to cover up,” the BJP MP charged.

The BJP wanted to know why no action was being taken against the PM who had signed the contract papers when, in the Commonwealth Games scam, the final signatory was held accountable.

The BJP also targeted the CBI for adopting a selective probe in the case. The party wanted to know why former Minister of State for Coal Dasari Narayan Rao, who is an accused in one of the Coalgate cases, was not even questioned.

"The Supreme Court had called CBI a caged parrot. In Railgate, it had made the one who committed the scam a witness," Javadekar said, accusing the CBI of sparing the real culprits in the scam.

While the UPA ministers have been defending business magnate Kumar Mangalam Birla, the BJP has come to the defence of Parakh. The Left has demanded a speedy probe but is not satisfied with the way the PM has handled the Coalgate scandal.

(Published 16 October 2013, 10:21 IST)

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