New Delhi: Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahai, who is embroiled in a controversy over allocation of a coal block in Jharkhand, on Friday targeted BJP but was cornered over the letter he had written to Prime Minister recommending a company in which his brother is a Director.

"This debate is sandwiched between a Delhi High Court judgement and bunch of lies being spread by BJP. Parliament is not able to function due to their lies even as the whole country is watching," Sahai said at a press conference called by him to clear his name in the coal allocation controversy.

To a question, he ruled out resigning from the government and shot back, "For what".

BJP has produced a letter written by Sahai to the Prime Minister seeking his "personal intervention" for allocation of two coal blocks to SKS Ispat and Power Limited, in which, the party said his brother Sudhir K Sahai is a Director.

Asked about the allegations, the Minister maintained that his brother was on the board of the company as an "honorary director".

Sahai cited the court order to argue that his brother is neither a shareholder nor a director.

However, he accepted that he had written the letter to the Prime Minister seeking his intervention for coal block allocation. He insisted that he has done so for development of the state.

"In future also, I would make such recommendations for the development of my state (Jharkhand)," Sahai said.

Asked if it did not tantamount to misuse of his office as his brother was connected to the company, Sahai said, "I would not recommend any person on the street. We recommend somebody only after checking his antecedents."

He alleged that Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh was aware of the allocation and said that Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley had represented one of the parties as an advocate before Delhi High Court.

"Despite this, BJP is levelling these allegations against me and disrupting Parliament to realise their dream of coming to power which will never be fulfilled," Sahai said.

The Tourism Minister was hardpressed defending his letter to the Prime Minister seeking coal block allocation for the company with which his brother was associated.

Sahai said the court judgement was in his favour. "There are several controversies. It is a false allegation," he said.

Sahai had written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on February 5, 2008 seeking his personal intervention for allocation of two coal blocks to SKS Ispat and Power Limited. The very next day, the PMO wrote to the Coal Secretary recommending "appropriate" action.

Clarifying his stand on his letter, he maintained that the court had observed that "the letter has nothing to do with the allocation of coal block for the power project."

Asked about the presence of his brother in a screening committee meeting, he said the decision to make the coal allocation to the company was made at the 35th meeting of the screening committee held on September 13, 2007, long before he wrote to the Prime Minister.

Defending his brother, the Minister said, "So many people provide services to various companies. This does not mean they are part of company."

He maintained that his name was cleared by the Delhi High Court in a case filed on these two coal block allocations.

He alleged that some of the petitioners in the case were close to BJP and RSS.

Sahai maintained that the court had stated, "This allegation can only be a product of fanciful imagination... Further, not a scrap of paper has been produced to prove the claim...." The matter is sub-judice, he said.


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