Dehradun: Union Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal on Monday ruled out scrapping of coal block allocations saying it will send a wrong message to foreign investors.

"The coal block allocations will not be cancelled as it will send a wrong message as far as foreign investments are concerned," said Bansal, Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Water Resource.

He, however, said anyone who was found guilty of having committed irregularities in acquiring the coal blocks would be sternly dealt with.

"An inter-ministerial group (IMG) is looking into the issue and if any beneficiary is found to have misrepresented facts to acquire the coal blocks or not invested in them, they will penalised under the IPC," the Union minister said here.

Accusing the Opposition of spreading lies, he said the loss figure of Rs 1.86 lakh crore often cited by the Opposition did not "exist anywhere and is purely notional."

When asked whether he was trying to suggest there were no corruption involved in the allocations, he said, "under the process adopted, there were no complaints but if at all irregularities are found, action will be taken."

Bansal also charged the Opposition with being irresponsible saying its evasion from a debate on the issue in Parliament had wasted 80 per cent of the valuable time of both the Houses.

"The Opposition's intransigence, which saw a whole session of Parliament being washed out on the issue only displayed its lack of faith in democratic institutions," he said.

(Agencies)

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