Parliament disrupted over PM’s statement

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh assured both the Houses of Parliament that all efforts are on to locate the “missing” coal files. He said CBI will be provided all desired documents on the coal allocations within the stipulated time.

The Prime Minister said in a statement in both the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha that a vast majority of the papers sought by the CBI have already been handed over to the investigating agency.

“Disregarding the factual position some members have gone ahead and drawn their own conclusions that there is something fishy,” Singh said and added that the Government has nothing to hide.

The Prime Minister had said in the Rajya Sabha last week that he is “not the custodian of the files.” The Opposition sought clarifications on his statement in the Rajya Sabha, however, the Prime Minister left for the Lok Sabha to make the same statement there.

But, he could not make the statement in the Lok Sabha, as an agitated Opposition walked out of the House.

The Prime Minister said the Government’s intention to facilitate investigation is clear as more than 1,50,000 pages of documentation have already been handed over to the CBI.

“If the records in question are indeed found missing, the Government will carry out a thorough investigation and ensure that the guilty is booked,” he assured Parliament.

He did not divulge much into the details of the files that are being located by the Centre. “The matter of allocation of coal blocks is sub judice; the apex court is looking into all aspects of these allocations,” he added.

“Right from the days the CAG began its exercise of performance audit, the Government has always provided its fullest cooperation to the CAG and later to the CBI. We will continue to do so,” the Prime Minister said.

He said the Government will follow the directions of the Supreme Court in letter and spirit and do its best to locate and hand over the requisite papers to the CBI.

“I urge the honourable members of this august body not to draw hasty conclusions and let the House continue its normal business,” he added.

Both the Houses witnessed uproarious scenes over the coal scam.

Earlier in the Rajya Sabha, BJP, CPI(M), BSP and the AIADMK demanded the Prime Minister to come clean on the controversy.

Opposition leader Arun Jaitley said the Government is trying to hide something. He said the Government tried to mislead the House by stating that all missing files are from the erstwhile NDA regime.

(This article was published on September 3, 2013)
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