The Opposition on Monday vociferously raised in the Rajya Sabha the issue of crucial files of Coal Ministry going missing, alleging that it was a conspiracy to save the Prime Minister in the multi-crore coal block allocation scam being probed by the CBI.

The opposition sought to corner the government by demanding a statement from Prime Minister or Coal Minister on the issue.

Responding to the demand, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla assured the House that Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal will make a statement on the issue but gave no time frame.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Dharmendra Pradhan (BJP) said such an incident has never happened earlier and the government needs to reply.

“This is a very serious issue...Nothing can be more condemnable. This is a conspiracy...It is an attempt to save the Prime Minister,” said Mr. Pradhan, wondering if the coal department had a hand in missing of files to brush under the carpet irregularities by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who earlier held the Coal portfolio.

Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley said, “There are three powerful targets of investigation and suddenly the files are missing...the government must respond to this...Otherwise you eliminate the evidence and then say no crime is committed.”

Mr. Jaitley said, “There are three important targets of investigation — the beneficiaries who benefited from coal block allocations, the screening committee which allotted the mines and the Minister, the Minister’s office and the Prime Minister’s Office.”

As BJP created uproar over the issue, Mr. Shukla said, “We will apprise the Minister and he will make a statement in the House.”

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