Team Anna rejects CBI probe in ‘coalgate’ (Second Lead)

June 1st, 2012 - 7:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Ghaziabad, June 1 (IANS) Team Anna Friday rejected as irrelevant a CBI probe ordered into irregularities in coal block allocations, saying it will give a clean chit to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

“We reject the referral of case by Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) to CBI as it will give a clean chit to the prime minister. How can the CBI investigate a case when it reports to the prime minister? It is just a pretence,” Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal said here.

But the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) expressed happiness over the move to hand over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation, saying its own stand had got vindicated.

The Congress, however, chose not to comment saying the prime minister had clarified the issue.

“There is no need for us to comment after the prime minister has clarified,” Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhury told reporters here.

The CBI has been asked to investigate the alleged irregularities in allocation of coal blocks to public and private companies. Team Anna has questioned the role of Manmohan Singh in the suspected scam.

The prime minister held the coal portfolio from November 2006 to May 2009.

According to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), mining rights for coal blocks were allocated without auctioning them and this led to massive profits for chosen private firms.

Kejriwal said the government was trying to mislead the people by saying that massive allocation of coal mines took place due to peaking demand for coal.

“In three years, 145 blocks were allocated while prior to his tenure only 75 mines were allocated in 12 years. It shows that the demand for coal was high only in three years. In fact, only one coal block has been allotted since he left the charge of coal portfolio,” Kejriwal said.

The Team Anna member demanded an independent investigation into the matter.

“If prime minster claims innocence, why is he afraid of an independent investigation?”

He alleged that the coal blocks were allocated at throwaway prices to private and public companies which had nothing to do with the coal sector.

“The blocks were allocated to companies … and those which have nothing to do with steel cement and power. Their motive was to sell the mines,” he said.

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