India

Coalgate: PM should offer to depose before the CBI, says BJP

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SushmaNew Delhi, September 4; Mounting pressure on the UPA government which finds itself in a mess over the controversial Coal block allocations, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday demanded voluntary examination of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) even as other parties demanded registration of an FIR in the missing coal block files.

Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said the government was yet to register an FIR in the missing files, giving an impression that it did not want to trace the files. “The files are not missing, they have been stolen as these pertain to influential Congress leaders,” she alleged.

Hitting out at the Prime Minister, she said aspersions have been cast on him as the Coal Ministry was under his charge between 2006 and 2009. “If the Prime Minister wants to come clean, he should come forward and offer to depose before the CBI,” she said.

Referring to reports in a section of the media, she said a key CBI official has pointed out that there was a need to ‘examine’ the Prime Minister.

Her demand for registration of FIR drew support from the Samajwadi Party, CPI, CPI(M), AIADMK and TDP.

Reaction of the political parties

SP leader Shailendra Kumar demanded that FIR should be registered immediately.JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav said government was not speaking in one voice and giving different statements. “We would like to know how many files are missing. They are trying to hide something,” he said. Referring to the Prime Minister’s assertion that he was not the custodian of files, Mr. Yadav said, “You are the custodian of everything; you are the custodian of the nation.”

Dara Singh Chouhan of the BSP said a proper investigation should be held. Basudeb Acharia (CPI-M) demanded filing of an FIR without any delay.

Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) claimed that files have been ‘removed’ and were not missing or stolen.

Saugata Roy (TMC) took objection to the absence of Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal from the House when such an important issue related to his Ministry was being discussed.

M. Thambidurai (AIADMK) asked the government to take immediate action with regard to missing files.

B. Mahtab of BJD wondered why government was not stipulating a ‘time frame’ for finding the missing files.

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