Coalgate: BJP trains guns on Congress, demands President's intervention

Last Updated: Wed, Sep 12, 2012 09:30 hrs

New Delhi: A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) delegation met President Pranab Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here on Wednesday to highlight the UPA Government's wrong approach on the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India on the coal blocks allocation issue and sought his intervention in the matter.

BJP veteran Lal Krishna Advani said it was a formal meeting with President Mukherjee in which Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley and Public Accounts Committee chairman Murli Manohar Joshi were present.

Stating that the Public Accounts Committee chairman has to examine every report of the CAG, he said: "We all jointly came to request the President that while our battle against corruption will continue against the government in Parliament and outside Parliament, it is his duty as defender of the Constitution to intervene if any constitutional institution is sought to be undermined or weakened."

"We told him that the statement made by the Prime Minister in Parliament or by the Prime Minister's Office during the last few days was against the CAG. They said that the CAG report is wrong on multiple counts. If the Prime Minister himself makes such statements then his subordinates get a license to make remarks. We really felt bad to listen to the remarks made by a Congress spokesperson that the CAG and the BJP jointly did not allow the Parliament to function," he added.

Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari had earlier this week alleged the government auditor was as much responsible as BJP for the disruption of the just-concluded monsoon session of Parliament on the coalmine allocation issue.

The ruling Congress Party and the BJP have so far been at loggerheads over the coal blocks allocation issue with the latter firm on Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh's resignation.

Union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal had earlier on Tuesday challenged the BJP leaders to prove their allegations against him in the coal block allocation issue, saying they were free to visit his office to collect any information.

"An attempt is being made to create confusion... it is my challenge that I will be in the office tomorrow, they come and take all information . After that either they should have to apologise to the country or I will," he said.

Jaiswal alleged that BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad has levelled false allegations that allocation started after Sriprakash Jaiswal became the Coal Minister.

Prasad had earlier alleged that Jaiswal unduly allocated 17 coal blocks to 36 companies after he became minister in 2009.

"Sriprakash Jaiswal, the BJP would like to know from you that if the last meeting of screening committee took place in 2008, as per your admission before the Parliament, how is it that 17 coal blocks to 36 private companies were allotted in the years 2009, 2010 and 2011," he asked.

The BJP-led opposition disrupted the proceedings in the Monsoon Session of Parliament and deprived the government from putting forth its views on the issue.

The coal scandal dominated the Monsoon Session of Parliament after the CAG report said that the under-priced sales of coalfields would have cost the national exchequer as much as 33 billion dollars in lost revenues.

The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, earlier blamed the BJP for disrupting the Monsoon Session of Parliament over the coal blocks allocation issue, and described the inactivity as 'a negation of democracy'.

Dr. Singh said there were important issues that needed to be discussed and resolved in Parliament. 

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