Millennium Post

Cong, BJP spar over PM’s role

An impartial probe into the coal scam can only take place once Prime Minister Manmohan Singh steps down from office, BJP said on Friday in reaction to his offer to face CBI in a coal block allocation case. 
Singh’s questioning by CBI will be ‘meaningless’ as the agency comes under the PMO’s purview, BJP said as it once again raised the call for the Prime Minister to resign over the alleged scam. 

The opposition party accused Singh of ‘hiding’ things and having made similar statements in the past. 

The party cited the example of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the 2G Spectrum scam, saying Singh never appeared before it despite a strong demand for the same and had instead offered to do so before the Public Accounts Committee, which anyway had no power to summon him. 

‘The only option before him is to quit, come clean and appear before CBI... The question is that the country’s Prime Minister is under suspicion. If CBI questions the country’s Prime Minister, what signals would it send. That is why we have said the Prime Minister should resign and (then) appear before CBI,’ BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said. 

Meanwhile, in Srinagar, BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said, ‘The investigation has reached the door of the Prime Minister. Now he is saying he is ready to go to CBI. (But) CBI is under the PMO. Its administrative control is with PMO. His joint secretary changed the CBI status report’. 

‘So, saying that he is ready to go to CBI is meaningless. Perhaps he is thinking that he will get a clean chit from the agency the same way that Pawan Bansal, Mayawati and Mulayam Singh Yadav did.’ 

Also, in Patna, another BJP spokesperson, Shahnawaz Hussain, said, ‘If you (Singh) are not tainted, if you feel you can answer the questions, then answer as the coal minister and as Manmohan Singh... Do not stick to the Prime Minister’s chair.’ 

Sinha said CBI would be afraid how to question the Prime Minister and, hence, Singh should quit before facing the probe agency. 

‘He hides everything... Puts curtains on the truth and does not allow it to come out. It is well known that under this government, there cannot be any independent and true inquiry into anything,’ former External Affairs Minister, Sinha said.

He said that former Coal Secretary PC Parakh’s letter about the ‘coal mafia’ also raises ‘serious issues’ and averred that the Cabinet Secretary would have certainly brought the matter to the notice of the Prime Minister. 

Meanwhile, rejecting BJP's attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the coal scam issue, Congress on Friday said he has been ‘more than fair, open and transparent’ on the matter.

Replying to questions on Singh’s statement on Thursday that he was ready to face CBI in the matter as he has nothing to hide, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Soorjewala said that the prime minister has ‘stated the obvious as nobody in the country is above the law’.

He at the same time emphasised that Singh has been steadfastly maintaining that the decision regarding the allocation of Talabira coal block made in 2005 was a correct one.

‘It was a correct decision taken on facts and it is an appropriate decision... the PM had steadfastly maintained that whatever he did was entirely correct,’ Soorjewala said.

While returning from his two-nation tour of Russia and China, the prime minister had on Thursday told reporters, ‘I am not above the law of the land. If there is anything the CBI or, for that matter anybody, wants to ask me, I have nothing to hide.’

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