New Delhi, Sep 3 (ANI): Asserting that the UPA Government has nothing to hide, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said all untraceable papers related to the allocation of coal blocks will be located and given to the CBI within time stipulated by the Supreme Court to ensure that the guilty are brought to book.
"If the records in question are indeed found missing, the government will carry out a thorough investigation and ensure that the guilty is booked," Dr. Singh told the Rajya Sabha, while making a statement on the issue of missing files relating to allocation of coal blocks.
"The matter of allocation of coal blocks is sub-judice. The apex court is looking into all aspects of these allocations. The government shall follow directions (of the Supreme Court) in letter and spirit and do its best to locate and hand over the requisite papers to the CBI," he added.
Dr. Singh urged the members of the Upper House not to draw hasty conclusions and let the Rajya Sabha continue its normal business
"Disregarding the factual position some members have gone ahead and drawn their own conclusions that there is something fishy. Let me assure this august House that the Government has nothing to hide," said Dr. Singh.
Dr. Singh said a vast majority of the papers sought by the CBI have already been handed over to them.
"More than 150000 pages of documentation have already been handed over to the CBI show our intention to facilitate investigation," he added, while silencing all critics.
The issue of missing files relating to Coalgate led to protests in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) demanding that the Prime Minister must make a statement on missing coal files before he leaves for the G-20 Summit.
"The Prime Minister will not be available as he is going for the G-20 Summit (in St Petersburg). This is the last day we can get a response from the PM, we should set aside all other work for a discussion on the coal scam," Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj told the Lok Sabha.
"Found out today that the Prime Minister is going on a foreign trip. Have the files disappeared or is this a cover-up?" she asked.
The BJP had earlier on Monday also targeted the Prime Minister in Rajya Sabha on missing files pertaining to coal mines allocation, saying the scam is 'monumental' and demanded that he gives a clarification on it.
BJP leader Prakash Javadekar, who raised this issue during the Zero Hour, said two days back the Prime Minister said he was not the custodian of files whereas the Opposition believed 'he is not only the custodian of files but also the custodian of the nation but not performing both the tasks well'.
"It is a monumental scam and occurred when the Prime Minister was the Coal Minister...PM should give a statement on this," Javadekar said, demanding to know whether any FIR was lodged in the missing files issue despite the Supreme Court asking for it.
Amid attack over missing files pertaining to allocation of coal mines, Prime Minister had earlier said in Rajya Sabha, "I am not the custodian of files in the Coal Ministry."
Dissatisfied with the reply, Javadekar launched a scathing attack on the government saying it "is doing a massive cover up" and sought the Prime Minister's statement on it.
The BJP has held the Prime Minister 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 blocks 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. (ANI)