Coal allocation: BJP demands resignation of PM

New Delhi, July 11 (IANS) Terming the apex court "rap" to the government in coal allocation controversy a vindication of its charge that the UPA government was engaged in a cover-up, the BJP Thursday demanded Prime Minister Manmohan Singh own up the responsibility for the allocations and resign.

The party also demanded that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) should seize computer data on allocations.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was indulging in a massive cover-up of the probe and putting up all hurdles in the apex court-monitored probe.

Referring to the Supreme Court observations that the CBI was still not being giving a free hand for investigations, Javadekar said the probe agency has not been handed over "hundreds of files, thousands of documents".

"Some files are reported 'missing', crucial files are said to have been 'lost', other important files are 'untraceable', and files of the Maharashtra government have been 'destroyed' in the infamous fire in the Mantralaya building," he said.

"The actual way forward for the CBI was to seize the related computers and dig out the data there from. The BJP expects that the Supreme Court will order such data mining," he said.

Javadekar said that requests by the CBI to share the probe status report with the executive and allowing transfer of some officers dealing with the coal scam probe was "a mischievous attempt" to disrupt the probe.

"All earlier and present attempts and interventions of the government are solely to save Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, as government fears that ultimately the probe will reach his door," Javadekar said, noting the prime minister held charge of coal from 2006 to 2009.

Javadekar alleged that the government had restricted the CBI from immediate interrogation of former minister of state for coal Dasari Narayan Rao and Congress MP Naveen Jindal, and added that the agency has not been allowed to establish money trail in a swift manner which would have exposed the bribe takers.

He said the inter-ministerial group has reviewed 56 coal block allocations so far, de-allocated 40 blocks and issued notices to others. "This itself speaks volumes about the massive corruption and irregularities involved in the coal allocation," he said.

Javadekar said there was no material available about the decision making process in coal allocation and minutes were not maintained.

"Every allocation was sanctioned personally by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as the then coal minister. In view of what has been exposed till today, he must own the responsibility and resign forthwith and the coal block allocations should be cancelled," he demanded.

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