Government has nothing to hide in coal scam: PM

New Delhi, Sep 3 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh insisted Tuesday that his government has nothing to hide vis-a-vis the coal scam and it was wrong to assume that it was "hiding something".

Manmohan Singh said it would be premature to conclude that official papers sought by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with the irregularities in allocation of coal blocks were indeed missing.

He told the Rajya Sabha that the vast majority of the papers had already been handed over to the CBI and that there was nothing "fishy" as a section of members feared.

"Let me assure this august house that the government has nothing to hide," he said, reading out a prepared statement.

The fact that more than one lakh pages had already been given to the CBI showed that the government's intention to facilitate the CBI investigation could not be called into question.

He said the government had provided all cooperation to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and the CBI. "We will continue to do so."

The prime minister said that if some files were indeed missing, the government would carry out "a thorough investigation" and the guilty would be punished.

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