Two books written by eminent personalities had exposed corruption in allocation of coal blocks: Javadekar

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday accused the Congress of looting the country’s natural resources and said the coal scam substantiated this charge.

It said Congress president Sonia Gandhi owed an explanation to the country after two books written by eminent personalities exposed the party’s corrupt practices in the allocation of coal blocks.

Addressing a press conference here, BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said the Congress denigrated constitutional bodies such as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).

Ms. Gandhi did not allow the Prime Minister to function independently, reducing him to a mere rubber stamp, he alleged. Quoting senior journalist Sanjaya Baru from his book The Accidental Prime Minister: The Making and Unmaking of Manmohan Singh, the BJP MP said: “Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is in office but not in power.” Not a single coal block allocation after 2004 was recommended by the PMO. No reason was given for granting allocations or rejecting applications, he said.

As pointed out by the former Coal Secretary, P.C. Parakh, in his book released on Sunday, the CBI probe into the coal scam was superficial and a massive cover-up to let the UPA government off the hook. “Every deal was a quid pro quo arrangement, as all the decisions were taken based on slips received by the PMO from 10 Janpath,” Mr. Javadekar alleged.

Coal reserves to the tune of 17 billion tonnes were allotted to 140 private companies without due diligence and making comparative appraisal. It allowed the companies to exploit the resources worth over Rs.50 lakh crore in return for meagre revenue.

Stating that the BJP would make it an election issue, Mr. Javadekar said the CBI did not make any attempt to get to the root of the scam. The then Union Minister of State for Coal Dasari Narayana Rao had rejected the Coal Secretary’s report on coal blocks allocation when the Ministry’s charge was held by the Prime Minister himself.

He said the NDA would come to power on its own as 20 parties were already a part of it.

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