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Cong gets back at BJP over Coalgate

CVC has now asked the CBI to probe coal block allocations since 1993

Kavita Chowdhury  |  New Delhi 

Opposition BJP had washed out the Monsoon session of Parliament over the Coalgate issue hauling up the UPA government for alleged irregularities in coal block allocations; now it’s the turn of the Congress to get back at the BJP.

The Central Vigilance CVC has now asked the CBI to probe coal block allocations since 1993, a period bringing under its ambit the years of NDA rule as well. Congress’ Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal had recently written to the CVC seeking a CBI probe into all the coal blocks allocated since 1993 when government had started allocation to private players for captive use.

BJP's Prakash Javadekar speaking to reporters said, “The story starts from 2004 but if somebody wants to go back to 17th century, we have no objection.”

Ever since the CAG report examined the 142 blocks allocated since 2004 to 2009 (tenure of UPA I) and the BJP went against hammer and tongs against it, the Congress has been demanding that all allocations as far back since 1993 should be probed.  

Apart from his letter, Coal minister Jaiswal, also forwarded a letter written by seven MPs to the CVC saying that blocks allotted between 1993 and 2004 including those given during the NDA rule should be investigated by the CBI, as allegedly favours were done to parties under political pressure.

The BJP had refused to let the Parliament function over the Coalgate episode demanding the resignation of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as the ministry was under him at that time.

Congress had come out in full defence of the PM with all its senior Cabinet ministers addressing the media and questioning the stance taken by the then BJP ruled states like Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan.

Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said, “I am afraid, the shoe is on the other foot. The charge of double standards really lies at the door of the BJP.”

While several Congress politicians like Vijay Darda from Maharashtra found themselves enmeshed in coalgate, Congress pointed fingers at BJP’s Ajay Sancheti, a close aide of Nitin Gadkari.

First Published: Mon, September 24 2012. 20:17 IST