New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has nothing to hide in the coal block allocation controversy and will make himself available to CBI for questioning if they make a formal request, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said yesterday.
Kamal Nath told Karan Thapar in CNN-IBN’s Devil’s Advocate programme that if Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) takes a decision that they need to speak to the prime minister, there was nothing wrong in it.
“Why not? CBI under law can question anybody and the PM is within the law. So, if CBI finds that for the purpose of investigation, they need to question him, he is part of law,” Kamal Nath said.
“Knowing the way he is, he will subject himself to any inquiry,” Kamal Nath said.
He was responding to a question about a media report citing a CBI official, probing the allocation, desiring to question the prime minister and wondering if he would be available if a formal request was made.
Kamal Nath however said the CBI director had indicated that it was not a appropriate time to question the prime minister. He stressed that the prime minister had nothing to hide on the coal block allocation controversy.
Defending the prime minister for his stance on the missing files in the coal allocation, he said that a first information report will be filed when there was certainty about the files having gone missing.
“At this point, we can’t say they are missing,” Kamal Nath said, adding he did not think there was “malafide” intention in the files going missing.
“If there is malafide, there will be a FIR,” he said.
He said some files were found fifteen days back and some were found later. The minister also contended that the media was unfair to the prime minister.
Answering a query about perception that the prime minister does not rise to the occasion in parliament, he said it is the media which builds this image.
“Media is being uncharitable to him,” said Kamal Nath, noting the prime minister was forthcoming on demands of opposition and had readily given statement on economy.
Asked if “Coalgate” will prove to be a “Watergate” for the prime minister, Kamal Nath said it will prove “Watergate” for the opposition.
Answering a query, he said the bill to amend the Right to Introduction (RTI) Act to keep political parties out of its purview had been sent to a standing committee.
Asked if there were any second thoughts on its passage in view of opposition from some members and civil society organisations, Kamal Nath said: “We have introduced it. No second thoughts at this point of time.”
Answering another query, he agreed that the job of a parliamentary affairs minister was “very challenging job”. The minister said he wanted to give credit to everybody for the bills passed in parliament.