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Updated: October 18, 2013 12:28 IST

Manmohan cannot be kept out of CBI probe: Jaitley

PTI
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Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley on Friday said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cannot be kept out of the CBI probe into the controversial coal block allocation as he was the “competent authority” when the decision was taken. File photo
The Hindu Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley on Friday said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cannot be kept out of the CBI probe into the controversial coal block allocation as he was the “competent authority” when the decision was taken. File photo

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cannot be kept out of the CBI probe into the controversial coal block allocation as he was the “competent authority” when the decision was taken, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley said on Friday.

Naming industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla and former coal secretary P.C. Parakh by the CBI in its FIR sent a “very, very adverse” signal that investors and civil servants will face investigation for irregularities, while the “competent authority” in the case, the Prime Minister who held the coal portfolio, “will go scot-free”, Mr. Jaitley said.

He said successive corruption scandals like the spectrum and coal blocks allocation are adding to the “disillusionment” towards the UPA government.

“This (coal block allocation) case is going to send a very, very adverse signal to both international and domestic investors,” Mr. Jaitley told PTI in New York.

The Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha said it defied logic that a secretary to the government who recommends a coal block should be made an accused in an FIR filed by the CBI but the minister who sanctions the blocks should be out of it.

“The competent authority was the minister, the minister in this case happened to be the Prime Minister,” he said.

Mr. Jaitley said Mr. Parakh was only a “recommending authority” but has been named as an accused in the FIR.

“The automatic corollary of this has to be that the minister in charge, who was the Prime Minister, cannot be kept out. He is the competent authority.”

The FIR has named Mr. Parakh and Mr. Birla for criminal conspiracy and under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act in the allocation of two coal blocks in Odisha in 2005.

Mr. Jaitley described Mr. Birla as “one of the doyens of the industry” and Mr. Parakh as an “an honest civil servant” who as a “dissenter” in the coal block allocation had recommended auction of coal.

“This case sends three signals. The investor is being told that if you invest in India, years later your projects and allocations can be reviewed by the investigating agencies and the head of your organisation will face criminal investigation.

“The politician is being told that the civil servant will be liable and the competent authority, who is the politician, will go scot free.”

Mr. Jaitley added that the treatment meted out to Mr. Parakh is a warning to bureaucrats that “even the most honest civil servants will be investigated.”

The “net effect” will be that apart from foreign investments drying up, even domestic investors “will now be compelled to go outside.”

“This sends a very bad signal to investment. If honest civil servants are going to be squeezed to save the politicians, bureaucrats will stop making honest recommendations,” he said.

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Mr. Jaitley should call for free CBI and give their commitment to ensure freedom of investigative agencies if they come to power

from:  Abhinav
Posted on: Oct 18, 2013 at 13:52 IST

For 6 long decades, the Congress has tried to hold on to power at the cost of merit and accountability, which has taken an immense toll on the nation. For the sake of the country, the old order has to go, until such time that it can reinvigorate itself to establish itself as a credible political party

from:  Luhar Sen
Posted on: Oct 18, 2013 at 13:50 IST

While, so much of events happening on the coalgate, why Sushma is mum on the subject? She is the Opposition Leader of the Lok Sabha. The election is not much far away, and even a common man is well aware of the situation as to how to swing the mind set of the voters. But she is not yet bothred to even mention Manmohan in the Coalgate scam. Or are all the politicians of the our coutry the other side of the same coin, it seems to be.

from:  umesh
Posted on: Oct 18, 2013 at 13:16 IST

Why is it such a big deal if the PM has to be investigated? Even PM is NOT above the law and he must be investigated if CBI has a reason to do so. Let the foreign investments dry up. Let the domestic investors go outside. Doesn't matter. It has no relation to the investigations. PM and other involved MUST be fully investigated and if found guilty are punishable under law. This is independent of the investments not flowing in etc. It almost seems like Mr. Jaitley is trying to scare people that investments will dry up!!

from:  Calista
Posted on: Oct 18, 2013 at 13:06 IST

This statement seems to be an attempt to appease the investor and lobbyists of INDIA and US, saying yes we are in favor investment inspite of irregularities and unethical business practices. As far as inclusion of PM in investigation is concerned, yes it has to be done without interfering with the duties of PM till the time anything is solidly proven. But again for all the practical purposes its the colloboration of bueracrats, investors and politicians that normally influences and shapes the decisions of govt. and after all its just an investigation, why should an investigation discourage the bueracrats and investors. there are many examples of investigations resulting in incarceration of businessmen, bueracrats and politicians in US, china..

from:  Rajasekhar
Posted on: Oct 18, 2013 at 13:03 IST

If Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson is what they claims to be then they should come forward and get investigated by all of judiciary/CVC/CAG/CBI/JPC. They shouldn't seem to be hide or run away from truth.

from:  Martin Kurian
Posted on: Oct 18, 2013 at 12:11 IST

ALL Politicians, especially those entrusted by the citizens to govern
the country on their behalf, have a stewardship responsibility, and an
unalienable fiduciary DUTY (symbolised by the oath they take on
assuming office) to safeguard the interests of ALL the citizens of the
country, INCLUDING the future generations as yet unborn.
It is inconceivable that the hugely admired SC of India will allow the
country's non-renewable assets to be plundered or misappropriated by
anyone however rich or powerful. The Constitution only permits one
class of citizens in India, and all are equal under the law (even
though some think, and have behaved for decades, that they are above
and beyond the laws of the land). Is there any doubt that India is
going through its Second Freedom Movement?

from:  D Mahapatra
Posted on: Oct 18, 2013 at 12:08 IST
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