PM may intervene in parliament on missing coal files: Shukla

New Delhi, Aug 22 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh "may intervene" in the discussion on missing coal-allocation files in parliament, if required, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla informed the Rajya Sabha Thursday.

The demand for the prime minister's statement in the upper house was raised by members from the BJP, CPI-M, AIADMK and other parties.

Replying to the demand, Shukla said: "Leader of Opposition and others demanded a reply from government and coal minister gave a reply ... there were clarifications also."

"If members are not satisfied, we can continue the discussion. Prime minister may intervene, if it is required, in the coal scam case," Shukla said.

Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley demanded that as the prime minister was present in the house, he should reply.

"CBI is looking into the matter of missing files of coal block-allocation. Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal made a statement in the house but we are not satisfied. Prime minister should give a statement on the coal issue," said Jaitley.

Outside parliament, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath earlier said it would not be appropriate to ask prime minister to make a statement in parliament about the missing files relating to the allocation of coal blocks.

"The prime minister is not the custodian of files. Why should he reply? If they (opposition) want, the coal minister will reply," Kamal Nath told a TV news channel.

"I think this demand (by the opposition) is not appropriate. We have a minister and it is his direct responsibility to reply in parliament," he said.

Jaiswal had Saturday admitted that some files related to the coal blocks allocations had gone missing.

He made a statement in the parliament Tuesday, saying efforts are on trace them.

A preliminary inquiry to examine the irregularities in allocation of coal blocks during 2006-09 was registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation on reference of the Central Vigilance Committee in June 2012.

During the period under review, 204 coal blocks were allocated to state-run and private companies -- 132 by the screening committee and 72 by the coal ministry. Out of that, licences for 40 blocks were cancelled.


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