The opposition sought to corner the government by demanding a statement from Prime Minister or Coal Minister on the issue. (Agencies)
Responding to the demand, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla assured the House that Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal will make a statement on the issue but gave no time frame.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Dharmendra Pradhan (BJP) said such an incident has never happened earlier and the government needs to reply. "This is a very serious issue...Nothing can be more condemnable. This is a conspiracy...It is an attempt to save the Prime Minister," said Pradhan, wondering if the coal department had a hand in missing of files to brush under the carpet irregularities by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who earlier held the Coal portfolio.
Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley said, "There are three powerful targets of investigation and suddenly the files are missing...the government must respond to this...Otherwise you eliminate the evidence and then say no crime is committed."
Jaitley said, "There are three important targets of investigation - the beneficiaries who benefited from coal block allocations, the screening committee which allotted the mines and the Minister, the Minister's office and the Prime Minister's Office."
As BJP created uproar over the issue, Shukla said, "We will apprise the Minister and he will make a statement in the House."
While BJP insisted that the Coal Minister or the Prime
Minister should come to the House and reply, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien observed that the matter is a Zero Hour issue and the government is not obliged to answer.
Pradhan said, "CBI is carrying out a probe into the matter, Government of India is trying to obstruct it. It is an attempt to save the Prime Minister."
He sought to know from the government as to who were responsible for the missing files. He alleged that a loss of Rs 1.86 lakh crore was caused to the state exchequer and the Law Minister had to resign while trying to tinker with the CBI affidavit.
Rajiv Pratap Rudy (BJP) said this is a serious issue, alleging, "It is an attempt to hide a big scam." "It acquires all the seriousness. The Minister or the Prime Minister should have come to the House to make a statement," said Venkaiah Naidu, asking the Chair to give a direction to the government to make a statement.
The opposition sought to corner the government by demanding a statement from Prime Minister or Coal Minister on the issue.