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BJP slams Manmohan Singh over coal scam row

New Delhi, Fri, 23 Mar 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Mar 23 (ANI): The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday lashed at Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh over the alleged multi crore coal scam in which the country has reportedly lost up to 11 lakh crore rupees in revenue.

While addressing a news conference in New Delhi, BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said that the distribution of the coal blocks took place when the Prime Minister Singh was in charge of the coal ministry, therefore it was the centre's liability.

"The matter has taken a serious turn as for most of the time during 2006 to 2009, the PM was the coal minister. It was during this period that the bill was prepared and it was under active consideration of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. The central government is completely involved in it and it has nothing to do with the state government. The centre government sanctions it after receiving the application and the state government merely gives them the report," he said.

Stepping up the attack on the government, Javadekar sought an explanation from the central government with regards to the companies, who were allocated the coal blocks.

"How many such companies are there who got coal blocks but did not start the work of mining the coal according to the prescribed rules. The government should tell what action has been against them. Our second question is that some companies got the coal blocks but had no factories. They went ahead with the mining, but since they had no factories, they sold the stock in the market. So how many companies sold their stock in the market and who gave them the permission to do so?" he said.

Javadekar also questioned the government's intention in distributing the coal blocks in haste during 2006-2009.

"How many companies are there, who by diluting their equities sold off their coal blocks to some other companies? What action did the government take? During 2006 to 2009, when the bill was being made under the Prime Minister, why were the coal blocks distributed in such a hurry. They should give us some explanation," said Javadekar.

Proceedings in both Houses of Parliament were adjourned for some time on Thursday following opposition pressure after a news report, in one of the leading dailies, about a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) draft report on coal block allocation was published.

The CAG report titled 'Performance Audit of Coal Block Allocations' has reportedly alleged the government of extending "undue benefits" of nearly Rs. 10.67 lakh crore to commercial entities while allotting 155 coal acreages without auction during the period of 2004-09.

The surfacing of the scam, said to be bigger than the 2G scam, has once again given the opposition an opportunity to corner the government in the ongoing parliament session.

It is reported that the over 100 private companies and public sector units from the power, steel and cement industries have benefited from this allocation.

The CAG has however, in a letter to the PM, denied any such claim stating the news report of being extremely misleading. (ANI)


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