Senior BJP leader and Public Accounts Committee Chairman Murli Manohar Joshi on Sunday asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to clarify his statement on the Comptroller and Auditor-General’s report on the coal blocks allocation.

Dr. Joshi’s point was that Dr. Singh’s statement — the facts were not correct and the basis of the estimated loss was wrong — should not hamper any probe by the PAC. Furthermore, no official would take a stand different from Dr. Singh’s. People’s faith in parliamentary practices would be eroded if a wrong precedent was set. “How would democracy function?” he asked.

Talking to journalists at the BJP headquarters here, Dr. Joshi said that during 2004-05, the Coal Secretary of the day said the auctioning of coalmines would fetch the government revenue, but the government went ahead with the process of allocation.

“The PAC will continue with its probe if it is found that undue benefit was given to a few industrial houses.”

Dr. Joshi assailed Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh for his remarks that the CAG nursed political ambitions and the report was inspired by political gains. The CAG, he pointed out, was a constitutional functionary and the Congress-led UPA government was determined to stall the probe.

He pointed out that in 1960, the then Defence Minister, V.K. Krishna Menon, had to withdraw his statement critical of the CAG after the Lok Sabha Speaker ruled that no comment could be made against the government auditor.

The remarks of Dr. Singh and Mr. Digvijay Singh only showed that the Congress was trying to sweep corruption under the carpet and protect the corrupt. “The BJP will take the issue to the people to draw their attention to the enormity of the coalgate, as the Congress and the UPA government never wanted that issues related to corruption should be made public.”

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