PM does not need certificate of honesty from anyone: Jaiswal

Sriprakash Jaiswal
Sriprakash Jaiswal

NEW DELHI: Coming to the defence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal today said he does not need a certificate of honesty from anyone.

Opposition BJP has demanded Prime Minister’s resignation following allegation by former Coal Secretary P C Parakh that Singh knew of the coal blocks being allocated to companies like Hindalco and he too should be named as a “conspirator” and made an “accused”.

“The entire nation knows about the commitment and honesty of the Prime Minister. He does not need any certificate from any quarter to prove his honesty,” Jaiswal told reporters.

Parakh, who has been named in the FIR filed by CBI for alleged irregularities in coal block allocation to Aditya Birla firm Hindalco, had yesterday said that the final decision lay with the Prime Minister who held Coal portfolio at the time.

He said if CBI thinks that there is a conspiracy, “why did they choose and select Birla and me and not the PM”.

Jaiswal cautioned that everyone should refrain from issuing such statements which could weaken the economy of the country or prevent bureaucracy from working.

“Everyone should take precaution that no such statements are issued which could impact market sentiments, weaken the economy or could prevent bureaucrats from working, he said, without referring to any specific person or party.

Jaiswal refused to comment further on coal block allocation controversy saying that “any comment on it by me would not be proper as CBI is probing the matter and the Supreme Court is also reviewing it”.

He reiterated that auction process for allocating coal blocks in a transparent manner was likely to begin in two months span. . Parakh’s remarks yesterday on coal scam had given fresh ammunition to BJP which demanded that the Prime Minister step down immediately saying he is equally culpable in the scam since all decisions were taken with his consent.

CBI has registered FIR against industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla, Parakh and others on charges of criminal conspiracy and under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act in connection with alleged irregularities in the allocation of two coal blocks – Talabira II and III in Odisha in 2005.

Terming the allocation to Hindalco of the Aditya Birla Group as a “fair decision”, Parakh has said Hindalco and PSU Neyveli Lignite Corporation had applied for a coal block.

He has explained that Screening Committee under the Coal Ministry decided that it should be allocated to Neyveli as it was a PSU and was also eligible for the allocation. But after the decision, Birla made a representation to the PM that Hindalco should have been given the block as they were equally competent and were the first applicant.-PTI

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