New Delhi: The government said it had nothing to hide on the controversial coal allocations and pointed out that the CBI booking corporates in the matter was creating sensation even as the BJP targeted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh amid a request to add his name in the FIR.
“We have nothing to hide,” Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office V Narayanasamy said, adding that allocations had been made to public sector undertakings and some private companies “on the recommendations of state governments where coal blocks were available”.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) targeted the prime minister. “The trail of the coal allocation scam goes all the way to 7, Race Course Road (PM’s residence). If in the Commonwealth Games scam, the person who put the final signature was held accountable and jailed, then what is the reason that the prime minister, who held the coal portfolio, is not responsible,” BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said.
Cabinet ministers defended the prime minister. Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma hit out at the BJP. “Now who is going to give certificate to prime minister of India, who is globally respected, or to his ministers? I don’t think we need certificates,” Sharma told Times Now TV channel.
The prime minister did nothing wrong by signing the coal allocation file, he said. An atmosphere where ministers or bureaucracy do not sign papers out of fear was a “recipe for disaster”, Sharma said, contending that the economic environment had been vitiated over the past three years.
“You cannot hold decision-making to ransom so that nobody takes a decision, everybody is fearful,” he said.
Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal too defended the prime minister. “The entire nation knows about the commitment and honesty of the prime minister. He does not need any certificate from any quarter to prove his honesty,” Jaiswal said.
The ministers also targeted the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for booking corporates. In a veiled criticism of CBI, Sharma said authorities should not “play to the gallery and create an environment of sensation and shock”.
“So, the larger question which comes up is that whether we have an environment which is conducive to decision-making and also which gives confidence to the investors and to the corporate world,” Sharma told NDTV.
Jaiswal too cautioned that everyone should refrain from issuing such statements which could weaken the economy of the country or prevent bureaucracy from working.
“Everyone should take precaution that no such statements are issued which could impact market sentiments, weaken the economy or could prevent bureaucrats from working,” he said, without referring to any specific person or party.