Rejecting opposition’s demand for resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the CAG report on coal block allocation, Law Minister Salman Khurshid on Tuesday said there was “ample transparency” in the process and it was done in a bonafide manner.
Mr. Khurshid also said state governments’ recommendations formed the basis of allocation for coal blocks. “I think it is not a very reasonable and sensible thing to say. I believe that there is ample transparency in the manner in which coal block allocation happened,” Mr. Khurshid said reacting to a volley of questions outside Parliament House after a determined opposition stalled the proceedings of both the Houses demanding Prime Minister’s resignation over the CAG report on coal block allocation.
“There is an existing system (for coal block allocation). In fact several improvements have been made on that system. The screening committee had participation of state governments. State governments’ recommendations formed the basis of allocation for coal blocks,” he said.
“...We haven’t made a mistake. We have done things in a bonafide manner and to the best of our ability,” Mr. Khurshid said.
Asked whether the BJP should also do an introspection on the issue as there were allegations that the opposition party-ruled states were in favour of such allocation of coal blocks, Mr. Khurshid said, “Now, it has been vindicated that these were decisions that actually emanated from recommendations coming from state governments.”
He said resistance to changes in the law for a switch from the screening system to auction system came from state governments and was well documented.
Reacting to a question on oppositon’s allegation that the government was not respecting institutions like the CAG, he said, “I hope the CAG respects the government as well.”
“The issue of Constitution authority, I think, we have to have mutual respect.... I think in the government’s functioning also there is some presumption of integrity. I think, we can’t start every inquiry and every assessment with a presumption of lack of integrity,” the minister said.
“I hope that all institutions will keep this in mind. Of course, at the end of the day when you make a mistake, of course, we are answerable,” Mr. Khurshid added.