Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha
New Delhi: Making no delay in latching on to the statements made by former Coal Secretary PC Parakh holding Prime Minister Manmohan Singh equally responsible in coal scam, BJP on Wednesday came out in full support of the former bureaucrat, urging him to open up on the matter.
Meanwhile, the Congress retorted the opposition with I&B Minister Manish Tewari calling BJP as a "self firing automatic weapon full of blanks" that was saying the same thing since last ten years.
Reacting to the former Union Coal Secretary Prakash Chandra Parakh’s remark that the PM, who held charge of Coal Ministry then, must also be named as the third conspirator in coal scam, BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar slammed the CBI for having filed an FIR against "an honest officer " and demanded PM to take responsibility for the scam and quit immediately.
Addressing a press briefing, Javadekar said, "It`s bizarre that an FIR was filed against the man who suggested that coal blocks be sold through competitive bidding".
"The monumental corruption would not have taken place had the PM followed his suggestion of auctioning the coal blocks," he added.
Appreciating Parakh`s remarks, he said, “The FIR against PC Parakh is a way to scare the bureaucracy. It`s high time the bureaucrats open up against all wrongdoings".
Pressing the authorities for fixing the PM’s responsibility in the coal scam, the BJP spokesperson also raised objection against CBI’s investigation, saying that the agency had put “whistleblower in the FIR” by naming those officials who recommended that competitive bidding should happen and sparing “the man who allowed this arbitrarily allotments without proper reasoning”.
Javadekar went on to say that the Prime Minister must take final responsibility for the scam as he held the Coal Ministry when the “monumental corruption” of coal scam took place.
"It is under his(PM) signature that these things happened(coal scam),PM must resign immediately," he said.
Echoing similar remarks, BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said, "The time has come for Parakh to speak up. He has not spoken much; he should come out clean now, make public statements on how files were disposed off at that time (when PM Manmohan Singh was in-charge of the Coal Ministry).
"...How chits were received from Congress party headquarters in the PMO and PMO transmitted those instructions to the Coal Ministry for allotment of coal blocks," Sinha added.
Sinha added that Parakh’s comments were not something to be “surprised” about as everyone knows that the Prime Minister “was the Coal Minister during the period of the coal scam and every allotment of coal block has been done with his signature”.
Sinha demanded that the PM should be labelled as the accused No 1 in the coal scam.
In Rajya Sabha, BJP’s Ravi Shankar Prasad, too, took a serious notice of Parakh’s statement, calling for an investigation into the case.
Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, he said, "Accountability of the Prime Minister and the PMO is equally important. Therefore, we demand a fair investigation."
The entire furore was triggered after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in its latest chargesheet registered FIRs against industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla and his company and former Coal Secy PC Parakh in connection with the coal scam.
Objecting to his name being dragged, Parakh said that the PM, too, must be held accountable as he took the final decision.
“If there is a conspiracy, then there are different members in this conspiracy.
There is K M Birla who made the representation, he is one conspirator. I, who examined the case and made a recommendation, I can be another conspirator and the Prime Minister, who as the Coal Minister, took the final decision, is the third conspirator,” Parakh said.
Rubbishing the BJP`s attack on the PM as "unimportant", Manish Tewari said that the matter was sub-judice and it was inappropriate to comment on the issue.
With Agency inputs