'Coal Gate files deliberately misplaced': Yashwant Sinha

Hazaribagh (Jharkhand), Aug. 18 (ANI): Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yashwant Sinha lashed out at the government on Sunday for allowing files related to the coal allocation scam to be deliberately misplaced to stall an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

"Prime Minister was himself the coal minister. And, if the files related to this case are lost, one can only conclude that it was deliberately misplaced, because if the files are found, then the CBI will definitely start its interrogation. Congress workers allotment files being lost, is surprising and suspicious," Sinha said.

Sinha further said his party would raise this issue in parliament and that the opposition will seek a clarification from the government.

"This is a serious matter, and those who were given the responsibility to preserve the files, the CBI should investigate that as well. We will raise this issue in parliament, we will demand clarifications by the government," he added.

Earlier, Union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal on Saturday confirmed that few files related to the coal allocation scam were missing, saying that copies of them are being retrieved.

"It's true that some files from 1993 to 2004 are missing. We are trying to get the copies of those files ready," Jaiswal said.

Jaiswal told the media that the Central Mine Planning and Design Institute Limited ( CMPDI), Ministry of Steel and Ministry of Cement have also been asked to return the files if they have them.

He added that the Coal Ministry has given 768 files to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the investigation was still in process.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on coal block allocation stated that nearly 150 coalfields were allotted to private and state-run firms without transparency and objectivity between 2005 and 2009.

The BJP has held Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh responsible and demanded his resignation, for what has been estimated as loss of Rs 1.86 lakh crores to the national exchequer by the CAG in coal block allocation.

The CAG report does not indict the Prime Minister or his office, but the BJP is emphasizing that the Prime Minister held direct charge of the Coal Ministry for the years under scrutiny.

However, the Prime Minister had rejected the CAG's observations as "misleading" and "flawed", and blamed the opposition parties for thwarting the efforts of his government to bring a policy of competitive bidding.

Dr. Singh also ruled out any possibility of quitting the top post despite the BJP firm on its demand for his resignation over the coal blocks allocation issue. (ANI)

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