Coalgate: BJP insists on PM's explanation

New Delhi, Aug. 27 (ANI): Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Ravi Shankar Prasad on Tuesday insisted that Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh needed to explain as to how the coalgate files had gone missing.

"We will very much insist that the honourable Prime Minister must explain as to why the crucial files were made to disappear which would expose the linkage, more particularly when the coalgate is under scrutiny and monitoring of the Supreme Court," Prasad told media outside the Parliament here.

The Central Government filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court in the coal blocks allocation scam, and assured the apex court that efforts were on to locate the seven missing files sought by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The government told the apex court that the investigating agency needed 43 files, which had been handed over to them, apart from seven.

Meanwhile, the CBI today filed a fresh affidavit in the apex court in the coalgate scam.

The investigating agency told the apex court that no prior sanction the government is necessary to enquire against government officials in coalgate. It has also sought the apex court's permission to share its probe report with its prosecutor in this case.

The UPA Government earlier on August 22 said the Prime Minister 'may intervene' and given a clarification on the missing coal block allocation files, if the opposition continued to remain dissatisfied with the replies being provided by Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal on various aspects of the issue.

"The government is ready for a discussion, and the Prime Minister, if required, may intervene," said Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla in the Rajya Sabha.

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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