Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Coal allocations made for hefty bribes, says BJP

Coal allocations made for hefty bribes, says BJP
Clean Media Correspondent

NEW DELHI, Aug 28 (CMC) Rebuffing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's defence, BJP on Monday further ramped up its offensive over coalgate, with its leader in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj accusing Congress of allocating coal mines in return for mega bribes.

"Mota maal mila hai Congress ko" (Congress got big bucks)," Swaraj said, escalating the confrontation which has jammed Parliament and triggered speculation that the monsoon session could be adjourned sine die.

Swaraj along with Arun Jaitley, her counterpart in Rajya Sabha, was responding to the PM's 32-point statement where he rejected the charge of resignation by denying any wrongdoing in the allocation of coal mines and disputing CAG's estimate of gains for private players.

"Congress has got a fat sum from coal block allocation, that is why this delay (in amending the laws) was caused. My charge is that huge revenue was generated but it did not go to the government and went to the Congress party," Swaraj said.

Her "mota maal" charge was confirmation that the party, unfazed by government's criticism for holding up Parliament or lack of support from non-Congress players, is in no mood to step down from its "maximalist" demand for the PM's resignation.

Asked about the reluctance of other parties to back their demand that PM needs to quit, Jaitley said, "We don't stand alone, and on corruption even if we have to fight alone, it will be a majestic isolation."

He also said Congress was directly linked to alleged bribery. "If an impartial probe is conducted, I can say with full responsibility as leader of opposition that Congress will be in the dock along with the government," he said.

Jaitley's assertion about the party's readiness to risk isolation came on a day when JD(U) appeared to be rallying behind the senior NDA partner in the offensive, and pointed to a strategy to keep the issue of corruption alive in the run-up to the coming polls in Gujarat and Haryana where the party will be pitted against Congress.

This was the reason why party did not seem perturbed when speculation swirled that government could consider seeking a trust vote to find a way out of the gridlock in Parliament and bolster its political stock. "Let them try it. They can manipulate numbers. But we will turn the contest into a referendum on corruption," Jaitley said before the government denied any such move.

In their press conference, Swaraj and Jaitley brushed aside the PM's attempt to pin part of the blame for Coalgate on opposition-ruled states. "While the PM started off by saying that he takes responsibility, the fact is that he has blamed everyone except himself," Jaitley said.

He accused the PM of attacking "constitutionalism and constitutional authority (CAG). He said Singh's reply was an attack on parliamentary democracy. "UPA tries to subvert constitutional authority and when it does not succeed it attacks the authority... It is a defiance of ethics in governance and polity," Jaitley said.

He also argued that coal being a major mineral, states had little role in deciding the policy of its allocation, and that their views were disregarded by the Centre in any case in 2006 when the government decided to amend the law to facilitate auctions.

Jaitley also attacked the government for citing the imperative of growth to defend allocations without bidding, saying, "If the purpose behind allocation of coal mines was saving time, getting more GDP growth, and power generation it has been defeated... Mining has been negligible in these 142 mines. Between 2004 and 2012, their contribution to GDP growth has been nil."

He also stressed that while 70 coal blocks were allotted between 1994 and 2006 -- and most of these were for public sector units -- 142 blocks have been allotted from 2006 onwards. Demanding the scrapping of the allocations, he said, "Besides loss to the exchequer, the rational for cancellation of these 142 blocks is that nobody should be allowed to enjoy the fruits of a corrupt allotment at the cost of public exchequer."

1 comment:

  1. Mota maal to khaya gaya hai. But who knows who has eaten it?