BJP attacks PM on coal block allocation (Lead)

August 17th, 2012 - 5:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Aug 17 (IANS) The BJP Friday attacked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the alleged irregularities pointed out by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report in the allocation of coal blocks between 2006 and 2009, calling it one of the biggest scams of the UPA government.

“The UPA II (United Progressive Alliance) is filled with incidents of corruption, each one that comes is bigger than the previous one. And this one is perhaps the biggest,” said Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sushma Swaraj, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha.

She said the CAG report should have been tabled in the last session of parliament.

BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy said the prime minister, who was holding the coal portfolio in this period, should answer.

“The CAG has pointed out a loss of Rs.1.86 lakh crore to the exchequer. The BJP has been raising the issue for quite some time now,” he said.

“This is not just a scam, it’s a case of murder and loot. We would like an answer from the prime minister on charges made by the CAG,” Rudy said minutes after the report was tabled in the Rajya Sabha.

Anotehr BJP leader, Ravi Shankar Prasad said: “The prime minister was coal minister for three years. In UPA’s maladministration, these are three more skeletons out of cupboard.”

The Indian exchequer could have earned Rs.1.85 lakh crore ($37 billion) more if a competitive bidding process was followed in the award of coal blocks to private and government players, the official auditor has said in its report released Friday.

But the government has termed as erroneous the back-of-the-envelope calculation of the losses — which nearly amounts to the country’s budgeted income tax and customs mop up of Rs.1.95 lakh crore and Rs.1.86 lakh crore, respectively, for this fiscal.

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