New Delhi: BJP on Thursday alleged Congress is "defending the indefensible" in Coalgate and posed seven questions on the reported anomalies in coal blocks allocations, claiming each allotment has the "stamp of approval" by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

"Congress is neck-deep involved in Coalgate... They are defending the indefensible. They first deny the existence of any scam. Then they try to destroy the credibility of the Constitutional agency which brings out their corruption and after failing in this they resort to diversionary tactics," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.

In response to Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh's questions to BJP, the opposition posed seven questions on the coal issue to corner the government.

"Is it not a fact that every allotment of the coal block carried a stamp of approval of Manmohan Singh as the Coal Minister? He was the Coal Minister during most of the period of these arbitrary allotments. How then the hierarchical subordinates are responsible and not the approving authority"?

Javadekar said. The party asked if the PMO itself was not opposed to the proposal of competitive biddings in September, 2004.

"Congress gameplan was very clear from the beginning. Moot the idea of auction but don't move ahead with required speed. Delay the proposal and its enactment and implementation. Keep the sword of auction hanging so that the black-gold rush will convert into net gain for Congress coffers. This is malafide and crux of the scam," he said.

BJP denied that Ajay Sancheti, party MP and close associate of party president Nitin Gadkari, was a beneficiary of the coal block allocation.

The party said he got the block through competitive bidding and the state held a majority share.

However, when asked about reports that Sancheti was the sole bidder, the party failed to give a convincing reply. BJP also defended its Chief Ministers against the allegation that they were opposed to competitive bidding.

"BJP Chief Ministers had essentially asked that the state must get its share of coal for its power generation and a fair share of the proceeds of auction. Since when Congress started respecting the opinions of the BJP Chief Ministers?" Javadekar said.

The opposition alleged Congress has always discriminated against BJP-ruled states.
Javadekar charged that the PMO and many Congress Chief Ministers have opposed the Centre's proposal.

Posing further questions to Congress, BJP said "why there were no comparative appraisals of all the applicants and no explanation on record why a certain party was favoured?" BJP alleged this is the strongest evidence of the malafide behind the scam.

The party also questioned the zero loss theory of Congress. "Is it not a fact that the right to mine goes to the allottee and does not remain with the government?... In this arrangement, profits are for the private companies and there are no adequate returns or even a share for the government," Javadekar said.

BJP said who will believe that 17 billion tonnes of coal reserves worth Rs 51 lakh rpt lakh crore were given to private parties for free. "The party (Congress) might have benefitted but the country has lost," Javadekar alleged.

The opposition party also claimed CBI raids on alleged beneficiaries of coal block allocations are taking place due to BJP's complaint to CVC which had then ordered the central agency to probe the matter.

BJP announced NDA MPs will hold a protest in Parliament premises tomorrow morning on the Coalgate issue.


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