“If the government is unable to locate the papers, a report will be filed with the CBI for proper probe”

Seeking to assure Parliament that the government had nothing to hide in the Coalgate probe, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said the CBI had been given a vast majority of the papers it sought.

Dr. Singh said the matter of the allocation of coal blocks was sub-judice and the Supreme Court was looking to all aspects of these allocations. He said the ongoing investigation by the CBI was being closely monitored by the apex court.

“The fact that more than 150,000 pages of documentation have already been handed over to the CBI clearly shows that our intention to facilitate the process of investigation cannot be called into question,” the Prime Minister said, making identical statements in both Houses. The Opposition, though, was not satisfied and disrupted proceedings. Both Houses were adjourned for the day amidst vociferous demands of further clarifications by an unrelenting Opposition.

Dr. Singh stressed that the government was making all efforts to locate the untraced documents requisitioned by the CBI and added that, at this stage, it would be premature to say that the government was hiding something and some papers were indeed missing.

“A vast majority of the papers sought by the CBI have already been handed over to them. However, disregarding the factual position, some members have gone ahead and drawn their own conclusions that there is something fishy and the government is hiding something,” he said.

Dr. Singh said the government had always provided its fullest cooperation to the CAG and the CBI. “We will continue to do so. If the records in question are indeed found missing, the government will carry out a thorough investigation and ensure that the guilty are brought to book,” he said.

He said if the government was unable to locate “some of these papers within the stipulated time, then as directed by the court, a report will be filed with the CBI for appropriate inquiry/investigation”.

Dr. Singh was picture of aggression last week while speaking in the Rajya Sabha and had even exchanged aggressive remarks with the Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley. He had taken on the BJP, saying it should allow Parliament to function if it was worried and concerned over the country’s economy.

He had also pointed out that he was not the “custodian” of files but his statement on Tuesday promised to locate the “so-called missing files or papers” pertaining to the ongoing probe into allocation of coal blocks. The Prime Minister is scheduled to leave for Russia for the G-20 Summit on Wednesday and the Monsoon session of Parliament ends this week, ruling out any possibility of him offering any clarifications.

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