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Updated: September 10, 2012 01:57 IST

Coalgate: Jaitley seeks special probe team

Prakash Kamat
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Arun Jaitley. File Photo
The Hindu
Arun Jaitley. File Photo

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday demanded that the Centre hand over the investigation of the controversial coal blocks allocation to a special investigation team completely independent of the government as, according to it, the credibility of the Central Bureau of Investigation, under the direct control of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), is questionable.

The CBI’s credibility and independence had “never been inspiring” when it came to scams linked to the political class, and it was even more questionable now that the Prime Minister himself was under the scanner, said senior BJP leader and Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley at a press conference here on Sunday.

The BJP would not trust the CBI’s investigations in the “very large coal blocks allocation, which were discretionary and arbitrary.”

Mr. Jaitley was here in connection with Saturday’s all India conference of the Mahila Morcha. Reiterating the BJP’s determination to get to the roots of the matter, using “all forms of democratic actions,” he said the party would meet in New Delhi on Thursday evening to chalk out the plan of action in this regard. He reiterated the demand of the cancellation of allocations and the resignation of the Prime Minister.

No mid-term poll

Mr. Jaitley said that though the UPA government faced a crisis of credibility and leadership, and its mandate was considerably eroded by now, with “revulsion” setting in, the BJP was neither in a position nor interested in forcing a midterm poll.

“The UPA’s ability to manipulate the people is almost over. This can be seen from the fact that it has been losing all kinds of elections, from parliamentary to Assembly by-elections; even elections to local self government bodies in different States. But, by using agencies such as the CBI, it had been successful in manipulating the political class. It would continue to be in power till it continued to manipulate smaller political parties. When it loses this power of manipulation, which it had been showing signs of, a midterm poll may become inevitable.”

The BJP was committed to unearthing the nature of allocations and exposing the kind of people to whom the allocations were made, while lamenting that industrialists and the political class had become “renters” to make money on allocations on behalf of private companies.

Mr. Jaitley hailed the Justice Shah report on illegal mining in Goa.

Earlier, Mr. Jaitley paid tributes to Verghese Kurien, who died on Sunday, saying that there were very few people of Mr. Kurien’s calibre.

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