Statement issued by the leaders of Opposition in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha
The Coal Block Allocation Scam is becoming murkier and murkier. A news report appearing in The Indian Express today i.e. 4th September, 2013 has stated that the Senior Superintendant of Police, Shri K.R. Chaurasia on perusal of of the entire material collected during investigation has desired that the then Coal Minister during the period 2006 to 2009 Dr Manmohan Singh requires to be questioned. This suggestion has so far not found favour with the higher ups in the Central Bureau of Investigation. Dr Manmohan Singh was then and is now the Prime Minister of India. The consequence of this is critical to the investigation.
A substantially large number of files/documents/applications connected with the coal block allocation scam have disappeared. The documentary evidence is missing. In the absence of this documentary evidence the CBI has necessarily to rely on the oral evidence which will include statements of witnesses and examination of persons who are likely to be in the know of relevant facts. The documentary evidence has disappeared. The oral examination is not being permitted. The consequences of this will be critical and adverse to the investigation. It seems that the effort of the UPA government is to sabotage the investigation and render it ineffective.
The essence of the coal block allocation has been the arbitrary allotment of coal blocks at virtually no cost. Favourites of the ruling party were chosen for bestowing upon them the largesse of allocation of coal block. Several leaders close to the ruling party applied for coal block allocation along with their chosen principals. Obviously these persons were name-lenders. There was no criteria for allotment. There is no record of why the favourite was preferred over the others. The criteria for selection was arbitrary. The Screening Committee acted as per the dictates of the powers that be. The Prime Minister acting as the Coal Minister and the Prime Minister Office approved the list of favourites arbitrarily chosen.
Notwithstanding the monitoring of the investigation by the honourable Supreme Court, crucial files of the investigation have disappeared. The Parliament was initially misled so as to create an impression that only pre 2004 files are missing. However, it now transpires that a large number of files which pertain to allocation between 2006 to 2009 are also missing. The disappearance of the files, the doctoring of the status report at the behest of a minister and officials of the PMO have been the hurdles which the government has tried to create in the honest conduct of investigation.
The Parliament has obviously been concerned with the factum of missing files. The current coal minister has made two statements before the Parliament which fall short of making a complete and honest disclosure. The Opposition members therefore wanted the Prime Minister to be available for answering all queries. After a great deal of effort the Prime Minister finally made a statement before the two Houses of Parliament. The statement was not even willing to acknowledge the reality of missing files. It referred to the factum of files missing as “the so-called missing files” . The issue of missing files was treated as more hypothetical than real.
The failure of the honourable Prime Minister to acknowledge the factum of missing files, the importance of the missing files inasmuch as they pertain to the very crucial cases which are a subject matter of investigation, the defiance of the authority of the Supreme Court by the government and its clear indifference to the fact that this is a court monitored investigation, the presentation of half-baked facts to Parliament by the coal minister are all pointers to the fact that the government does not want the truth to come out.
As members of the principal Opposition, we are constrained to believe that the documentary evidence in term of files has been made to disappear, The Prime Minister is not available for answering questions before Parliament and when the investigating officer from the CBI wants to examine the Prime Minister he is presently not permitted to do so. The casualty in the process is the discovery of truth with regard to the coal block allocations.
Under the circumstances on behalf of our party we are constrained to demand that the government confirm or deny the fact that the investigating officer Mr Chaurasia has required the examination of the Prime Minister on basis of the material before him so that no further tampering and doctoring of the investigation takes place. The material on the basis of which he requires the examination of the Prime Minister should also be publicly disclosed. This will cause no objection to any person since most of the evidence regarding coal block allocation are in public domain. The reasons on basis of which the Prime Minister’s examination is not being permitted should also be made public.
The government must further register a First Information Report with regard to the stolen/missing documents. The government must also explain why the same has not been done till date.