New Delhi: The BJP Friday demanded Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s resignation over the alleged irregularities pointed out in the CAG report in the allocation of coal blocks between 2006 and 2009 when he held the coal portfolio.
Calling it one of the biggest scams of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, the Bharatiya Janata Party, however, ruled out the need for a joint parliamentary committee probe on the Comptroller and Auditor General of India’s (CAG) report.
“We want the prime minister to resign but there is no need of a JPC,” Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj told reporters.
Her party colleague and Leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley said the prime minister was “directly, politically and morally” responsible for the windfall gain to private parties as the UPA government could not decide to allow competitive bidding for the coal blocks from 2004 to 2012.
“The eight-year delay from July 2004 to February 2012 in implementing a decision to go for competitive bidding instead of discretionary method of allocating coal blocks resulted in a loss to the exchequer and windfall gain to the private players,” said Jaitley citing the CAG report.
“As the prime minister headed the coal ministry between July 2004 and May 2009, he is vicariously responsible…he should introspect over the CAG’s report and resign,” he added.
But the BJP said no JPC probe was required into the allocation of coal blocks as it had done in the case of the 2G spectrum scam on the basis of the CAG report, in which a presumed Rs.1.76 lakh crore worth revenue was lost.
Making a comparison, Jaitley said while there was a loss to exchequer in the 2G spectrum case, in the issue of coal blocks the private parties gained at the expense of the government.
The BJP said the CAG report on coal blocks was another episode in the series of corruption scandals in the UPA government.
The BJP also condemned the Congress for criticising the CAG.
“The Congress’ attempt to rubbish the 2G report was belied and the same will happen with this report,” said Jaitley.
BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy said the prime minister, who was holding the coal portfolio in this period, should answer to the charges.
“This is not just a scam, it’s a case of murder and loot. We would like an answer from the prime minister on charges made by the CAG,” Rudy said minutes after the report was tabled in the Rajya Sabha.
Another BJP leader, Ravi Shankar Prasad said: “The prime minister was coal minister for three years. In UPA’s maladministration, these are three more skeletons out of cupboard.”