Coalgate: Govt faces Opposition fire in Rajya Sabha; Lok Sabha adjourned

A day after the UPA government admitted that some crucial files related to coal block allocations have gone missing, the Opposition MPs on Monday created a ruckus in both Houses of Parliament.

Zee Media Bureau/Ritesh K Srivastava

New Delhi: A day after the UPA government admitted that some crucial files related to coal block allocations have gone missing, the Opposition MPs on Monday created a ruckus in both Houses of Parliament.

The Opposition members were seen shouting anti-government slogans and sought an explanation from the Centre over the coalgate issue in Lok Sabha.

With the din continuing, Speaker Meira Kumar adjourned the Lok Sabha for the day. However, the House condoled the deaths of sitting BJP member Dilip Singh Judeo and victims of naval submarine tragedy before closing for the day.

Meanwhile, Rajya Sabha also witnessed uproarious scenes over demand for special status for Uttar Pradesh and rising onion prices in the country.

The chaos in the Upper House forced Chairman Hamid Ansari to first adjourn the House for 15 minutes and then till noon.

The Rajya Sabha Chairman also called an all-party meeting at 4pm to discuss the disruption rules.

Earlier this morning, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said that Union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal will make a statement on the issue in Lok Sabha today.

The Opposition has blamed the government for concealing the truth and hiding important facts related to the coal block allocations.

The BJP has also demanded a CBI investigation into the case of missing files. Mulayam Singh`s Samajwadi Party, BSP led by Maywati and Janata Dal-United have also accused the UPA government of playing hide-and-seek over the issue.

JD-U leader Sharad Yadav too hit out at the Coal Ministry for the missing files of the coal allocation scam and said that it was the responsibility of the Coal Minister and the Secretary.

Yadav further demanded that the Central government must take immediate action against them.

The BJP has held Prime Minister Manmohan Singh responsible as he held the coal portfolio in 2004 and demanded his immediate resignation.

The Samajwadi Party, too, is up in arms. "It is a serious matter. I feel that many others are involved in this. The Coal Minister must clarify regarding the missing coalgate files. If he doesn`t do it, we`d have no option but to seek his resignation," said SP leader Naresh Agarwal.
The CAG has estimated a loss of Rs 1.86 lakh crore to the national exchequer.

Union Coal Minister Jaiswal had on Saturday admitted that some files related to the coal blocks allocation scam had gone missing. The Union Minister said the files between 1993 and 2004 are missing.

"768 files have been submitted to the Coal Ministry. It is true that some files are missing. We are trying to recover these files from the other ministries," Jaiswal had said.

A committee headed by an Additional Secretary of the Ministry is inquiring into how the files have gone missing. It will also coordinate with other government departments for tracing their copies of the missing files, Jaiswal said.

The CBI, on July 31, had said that at least five crucial files related to allotment of coal blocks during 2006-09 have not been received by it despite providing specific details.
CBI has so far registered 13 cases related to block allotments during 2006-09 for alleged misrepresentation of facts by the beneficiaries while applying for the blocks.

In June, the Coal Ministry had constituted an Inter-ministerial panel to look into the issue of missing files. The panel has so far held one meeting.

Some time back, the Coal Ministry had informed a Parliamentary committee that it is trying to locate lost and missing files on coal block allocation in the wake of Supreme Court saying the Centre for not aiding CBI with documents in its probe.

With Agency inputs

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