Opposition unites to corner government on alleged coal scam (Lead)March 22nd, 2012 - 7:59 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, March 22 (IANS) A united opposition Thursday attacked the government on an alleged coal scam, holding Prime Minister Manmohan Singh responsible for it even as the official auditor dismissed the report that had claimed the scandal may have cost the exchequer a whopping Rs.10.7 lakh crore.
The two houses of parliament were adjourned till noon after opposition MPs protested against the alleged scam reported by a national daily that cited the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) draft report on the performance of coal block allocations.
The CAG, in a letter to the prime minister, however, disowned the report saying the audit was still under preparation and that it was not of the view that the “unintended benefit to the allocatee is an equivalent loss to the exchequer”.
But the opposition stood up against the government in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha demanding a statement from Manmohan Singh.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which had also raised this issue participating in the debate on the motion of thanks on the president’s speech, was joined by the Left, the Samajwadi Party (SP), the AIADMK and the Janata Dal-United (JD-U).
The opposition demanded suspension of the crucial question hour in the two houses to take up a debate on the alleged scam. Manmohan Singh was present in the Rajya Sabha.
Coal Minister Shriprakash Jaiswal said he had “no information” about the scam, adding that he would wait for the final audit report.
“I have no information about any scam… I am coal minister only in the UPA-2 and during this time no coal block was given,” he said.
“I can’t comment based on media reports. If we receive the CAG report then we will analyse it.”
Talking to reporters, BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu said Manmohan Singh should clarify as he headed the coal ministry at the time when the alleged irregularities were committed.
“It is his moral responsibility,” Naidu said.
Another BJP leader, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, held Congress president Sonia Gandhi responsible.
The BJP sought a probe by the premier Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) under the supervision of the Supreme Court.
The Communist Party of India (CPI) accused the government of following “wrong policies” to further the interests of corporate houses in the country.
“All these scams are taking place because of the wrong policies pursued by the government, furthering all corporate houses, big business houses in the country. Why did the government not go for the auction route,” D. Raja of the CPI said.
Samajwadi party, which extends outside support to the government and is also being sought by UPA as an ally post-assembly election in Uttar Pradesh, also said the prime minister was answerable.
“The prime minister, and (Shibu) Soren were incharge of the coal ministry during that time… whosoever is in-charge of the ministry is responsible,” SP leader Shailendra Kumar told reporters.
“This is much bigger than 2G (scam), there should be an impartial probe and the guilty should be punished. We will also be raising this issue,” he added.
- CAG dismisses coal scam report, says no loss to exchequer (Roundup) - Mar 22, 2012
- Let PM speak on coal scam: BJP - Mar 22, 2012
- BJP wants PM to go, to disrupt parliament - Aug 21, 2012
- BJP seeks PM's resignation over CAG report on coal blocks (Second Lead) - Aug 17, 2012
- Coal scam: Third Front demands probe, parliament disrupted (Lead) - Aug 31, 2012
- BJP demands Manmohan's reply on CAG coal report - Aug 17, 2012
- Most opposition parties favour debate over coal saga - Aug 24, 2012
- BJP wants PM to go, vows to disrupt parliament (Lead) - Aug 21, 2012
- BJP renews demand for PM's resignation, disrupts parliament (Lead) - Aug 22, 2012
- BJP corners PM over coal scam, parliament disrupted (Lead) - Aug 21, 2012
- Parliament deadlock as BJP insists on PM's resignation (Roundup) - Aug 22, 2012
- BJP attacks PM on coal block allocation (Lead) - Aug 17, 2012
- CAG disowns coal blocks report, says no loss to exchequer - Mar 22, 2012
- BJP presses for PM's resignation, parliament adjourned till Thursday (Third Lead) - Aug 22, 2012
- Sonia joins Congress-BJP war, parliament crippled (Roundup) - Aug 28, 2012
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