Jaiswal: action shows CBI’s impartiality; It proves there is wrongdoing: BJP

The Congress and the BJP on Tuesday put their own spins on the nationwide searches and registration of cases by the CBI in the coal blocks allocations.

Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said the development established the impartiality of the investigating agency and that the government was sincere in getting the allocations investigated and having responsibility fixed for irregularities. “If anybody is guilty of wrongdoing, not only will his allocation be cancelled, he will also go to jail,” he said. In view of the action under way, he argued, it made no sense for the BJP to insist on the cancellation of all 142 coal block allocations.

BJP spokesperson Prakash Javdekar struck back, saying the searches only proved his party’s point that there was wrongdoing in the allocation. The government need not take credit for the searches which happened at the behest of the Central Vigilance Commission, which, in turn, had acted on a complaint from the BJP. Mr. Javdekar was confident that the probe would end at the Prime Minister’s door. “When the full picture emerges, we will see the Prime Minister there. That is why we asked for his resignation.”

Mr. Jaiswal asked the BJP what it had to say about the CBI’s action, given its accusation that the agency was under the government’s control. He also indicated that the agency might conduct further raids on errant allottees. The Minister saw a clever ploy in the BJP’s cancellation demand since most of the allocations were in the BJP-ruled States. “On the one hand, they are playing politics with the cancellation demand. On the other, they know that nothing really will happen because the allottees will go to court and get a stay.”

Mr. Jaiswal said no government could agree to the wholesale cancellation without waiting for a decision from the Inter-Ministerial Group and without hearing out the allottees, who had the option of going to court. “De-allocation is easy, but the consequences are going to be problematic.”

He said the government wanted the IMG to study each block, assess the performance of the allottees and see what milestones they had achieved. “After this, we will take a decision. It could be to de-allocate the block or cancel its bank guarantee or issue it with an advisory.”

Mr. Javdekar said the BJP wanted the CBI to disclose the status of all 142 allocations. “We want to know how many allottees have started production, who recommended the cases and how they got the allocations.”

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