The agency can question anybody and the PM is within the law, says Kamal Nath

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be available to the CBI in the Coalgate investigation if a formal request is made, Union Minister Kamal Nath said on Saturday.

“Why not? CBI under law can question anybody and the PM is within the law. So if CBI wants to question him, the PM is part of the law,” he told Karan Thapar in CNN-IBN’s Devil’s Advocate programme.

“If there is something to be asked from him, he has nothing to hide,” he said, adding his “credentials will remain untouched.”

He also dismissed the suggestion that the Coalgate episode would prove to be the ‘Watergate’ for the Prime Minister, saying the issue would rather prove to be the Watergate for the Opposition which has brought many charges against him.

Blaming the press for creating a hype to suggest that the government is stonewalling the investigation, he said that only when it is confirmed that the coal files cannot be found, then it can be said they are missing.

“Fifteen days ago some were found, some more were found later and more will be found. There is no mala fide in the files missing. If there is, there will be an FIR,” he said.

He recalled the recent statement made by Mr. Singh that appropriate action will be taken if the files are not found.

Replying to a question, he said the government would amend the RTI Act to keep political parties out of its purview and the Bill for it has been sent to the Parliamentary Standing Committee.

Asked if the government is committed to the Bill, he said, “We have introduced this Bill. We have taken it to the Standing Committee.” — PTI