UPA Govt. goes on back foot as BJP demands CBI probe into coal scam

   Mar 22, 2:07 pm

New Delhi/Ranchi, Mar 22 (ANI): The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday hit out at the Congress-led UPA Government at the Centre a draft report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on allotment of coal blocks without auction, and demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into it.

BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said the Central Government had relinquished its right to stay in power.

"This Congress-led UPA is nothing, but a government looting the country. It is a 'loot raj'. We cannot allow this to happen. We have given notices under various rules today, and we will discuss with the leaders, and we will decide the course of action. This government has forfeited its right to be in power," said Javadekar.

"We had approached CVC (Central Vigilance Commission), CAG, CBI, and we now want a court-monitored CBI inquiry right from the beginning, because there are many leads, there are many evidences which will nail the culprits immediately," he added.

Congress spokesperson Shakeel Ahmad, however, defended the Central Government, saying the CAG report did not seem to suggest a scam.

He noted that the losses were basically an indicator of government expenditure for public benefit.

Ahmad contended that had the coal mining blocks been auctioned, the burden of the money spent by commercial entities would have fallen on the general public.

"I don't know the details, though I understand from the headline I read that the CAG report does not mention a scam, but a loss. The Food Security Bill is coming. Billions of rupees worth of the government's money will be used to benefit the people," Ahmed told the media in Ranchi.

"Even that can be termed as a loss to the government, but if the government did not spend that money, people would have been deprived of a convenience," he added.

Proceedings in both houses of Parliament were adjourned till noon earlier in the day after the opposition raised a stink over a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on coal block allocation that reported a loss of nearly 11 lakh crores. he CAG report titled 'Performance Audit of Coal Block Allocations' has reportedly alleged the government of extending "undue benefits" of nearly Rs. 10.67 lakh crore to commercial entities while allotting 155 coal acreages without auction during the period of 2004-09.

The surfacing of the scam, said to be bigger than the 2G scam, has once again given the opposition an opportunity to corner the government in the ongoing parliament session.

It is reported that the over 100 private companies and public sector units from the power, steel and cement industries have benefited from this allocation. (ANI)

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