New Delhi/Kolkata, Oct 16: Bharatiya Janata Party vice president Balbir Punj on Wednesday said the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is trying to pin the blame on ‘small flies’ in connection with the coal scam, and demanded that the latter must scrutinise the role of then coal minister and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
“In this case, when the allocations were made, the minister in charge happened to be Dr.Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister himself. So, if you have to investigate this matter, fix responsibility, then obviously start from the minister in charge, that is Dr. Manmohan Singh, and then, it can flow down,” Punj said here.
“So, what the CBI is doing is that it is working on very, very predictable lines. It is starting from below and trying to catch the small flies, that too, under the pressure of the honourable Supreme Court,” he added.
Meanwhile, Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Gurudas Dasgupta has demaned a thorough inquiry in connection with the case, and said the truth should emerge irrespective of who the culprit might be.
“There should be an inquiry. Everything must be based on facts. The CBI of our country has the freedom in our country to carry out the investigation. And, we are also appealing that the Supreme Court should take more care of this coal inquiry case. Whatever necessary investigation has to be carried out, should be all followed, and the truth should come out,” Dasgupta said in Kolkata.
“Whosoever is the culprit should be punished, whether it is the prime minister of the nation, or the coal minister, or it maybe the minister of state,” he added.
Former coal secretary P.C. Parakh said earlier today that if the CBI considers that there is a conspiracy in this case, then the prime minister should be held equally responsible, as he was the final decision maker.
Parakh, who has been named in the latest chargesheet filed by the CBI along with industrialist Kumarmangalam Birla and his company Hindalco, said there is absolutely nothing wrong in the decision.
“So, to my mind I don’t know why the CBI has thought that there is a controversy. But, if it is a conspiracy, then there are different members to this conspiracy. Mr. Birla, who made a representation, is one conspirant; I who examined the case and made a recommendation, I can be another conspirant; and the Prime Minister as coal minister, who took the decision, is the third conspirant. So, if CBI thinks that there is a conspiracy, then why did they chose and select Mr. Birla and me and why not the PM?” asked Parakh.
“If there is a conspiracy, then, we all three are conspirants, and he is the final decision maker,” he added, while talking to ANI in Hyderabad.
The 1969-batch IAS officer of Andhra Pradesh cadre, who was appointed Union Coal Secretary in March 2004 and remained in that post till he retired in December 2005, said it is for the CBI to answer as to why they have included him in the FIR.
The CBI yesterday filed FIRs against Kumarmangalam Birla and Parakh for alleged irregularities and criminal conspiracy in allocation of two coal blocks in Orissa in 2005.
The CBI, which has now filed 14 FIRs in this case, carried out coordinated searches at offices of the Aditya Birla group in Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad and Bhubaneswar yesterday.
The BJP has held the Prime Minister responsible and demanded his resignation for an estimated loss of Rs 1.86 lakh crores to the national exchequer by the CAG in connection with the coal block allocation.
The CAG report does not indict the Prime Minister or his office, but the BJP is emphasizing that the Prime Minister held direct charge of the coal ministry for the years under scrutiny. (ANI)