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Ministers rush in to defend Manmohan in coal scam fiasco

Three Union ministers on Thursday came out in defence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the coal allocation case, saying he needs no certificate of honesty and that the allotments were made on recommendations of state governments.

‘The entire nation knows about the commitment and honesty of the Prime Minister. He does not need any certificate from any quarter to prove his honesty,’ coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal told reporters.
The opposition BJP has demanded the Prime Minister’s resignation following allegations by former coal secretary P C Parakh that Singh knew about the allocation of coal blocks to companies and that he too should be named as a ‘conspirator’ and made an ‘accused.’ 

Parakh had said on Wednesday that the final decision lay with the Prime Minister who held the coal portfolio at the time.

When asked about Parakh’s allegation, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said the Prime Minister has not committed a crime by signing the letter. He also said agencies like CBI should not undermine investor sentiment. The CBI had registered an FIR against Hindalco Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla, Parakh and others on charges of criminal conspiracy and under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act in connection with alleged irregularities in the allocation of two coal blocks - Talabira II and III in Odisha in 2005.

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