Somaiya seeks Darda's resignation over coal blocks allocations



Mumbai: BJP secretary Kirit Somaiya on Monday demanded resignation of Maharashtra Education Minister Rajendra Darda, saying it was necessary to ensure a fair CBI probe in coal blocks allocation scam, after the agency registered FIR against a company linked to his family.

"Darda should resign. This is essential to ensure an impartial probe by CBI into the coal blocks allocation issue," Somaiya told reporters.

The companies named in the FIR registered by the CBI earlier today are Vini Iron and Steel, Nav Bharat Steel, JLD Yavatmal, which is said to be linked to the family of Congress MP Vijay Darda, elder brother of Rajendra Darda, JAS infrastructure of Abhijeet Group and AMR Iron and Steel and their directors and unknown government officials.

Referring to CBI raids on firms allegedly linked to Vijay Darda, Somaiya said, "Vijay Darda says that in 2009, he ended his association with the firm because it dropped its plans to set up a power plant in Yavatmal, then why didn't he surrender the coal blocks to the government."

Somaiya also expressed apprehension that the Congress leadership may be making Dardas the scapegoats to save prime minister Manmohan Singh. "The firms to which Dardas and Jayaswals are linked are eight of the total 142 allocations and BJP's main focus is on all the 142," he said.

Meanwhile, Rajendra Darda told reporters that there was no question of his resignation as he had not flouted any norms. "Why should I resign? Somaiya is not my boss," the minister said.

"If the allegations against me are proved, I will quit and won't wait for anyone to seek my resignation," Rajendra Darda said.

The minister said he got the shares in the company said to be linked to his family in 2006 and divested them in 2008. "The whole thing (coal blocks allocation happened much later, so I am in no way involved," he said. Earlier in the day, Vijay Darda too had refuted allegations that he was part of the scam.

PTI