Coalgate files 'missing', confirms Coal Minister

Kanpur, Aug. 17 (ANI): 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.

Earlier today, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alleged that files relating to the Coalgate have been lost or misplaced to stall the CBI enquiry and save the Prime Minister.

"The Government's approach right from day one is to hide the facts from the CBI enquiry and this is with the sole intention to protect the PM because he was the Coal Minister. And they are into a massive cover up. That is why they say that some files are missing or misplaced. All these are alibis, the real thing is that the government does not want to share information with CBI and it wants to cover up the whole scam," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.

"That is why we will follow it up and we are hopeful that in the next hearing the Supreme Court also will-because thousands of files have not been handed over to CBI yet, so the enquiry would never be completed," he added.

Commenting on the issue of important files being lost or misplaced, Jagdambika Pal said that even if files are misplaced, it will be recovered soon and this would not affect the proceedings of the apex court in this case.

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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