Nagpur: Former Congress MP from Chandrapur, Naresh Pugalia on Friday defended Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the coal block allocations and demanded a CBI probe against BJP MP Hansraj Ahir, who has leveled serious allegations against the Government in the coal scam.

"Ahir has levelled false charges against the PM and other Congress leaders as part of a conspiracy hatched by the RSS-BJP to malign the image of top leaders and damage the Congress party," he said at a press conference here.

Pugalia, who lost to Ahir in Chandrapur, a coal belt in south-eastern Vidarbha, lashed out at the BJP leader, widely credited with exposing the coal scam.

Pugalia said Ahir was himself indulging in illegal coal trading activities in his constituency.

Demanding a CBI probe against Ahir, Pugalia said the BJP MP's close associates have been indulging in illegal coal trading for quite some time.

He asked why Singh alone had been targeted when coal block allocations was done by six Prime Ministers, including Atal Behari Vajpayee of the BJP, since 1993.

Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled States like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh were also involved in coal block allocations to private sector. Therefore, the BJP should first seek their resignations, Pugalia said.

He blamed Coal India Ltd for the mess, saying the PSU launched e-auction, which led to rise in prices of the natural resource to Rs 1,200-1,500 to Rs 4,000-5,000 per tonne.

(Agencies)

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