PM morally responsible, must quit: BJP
NEW DELHI: Terming coalgate the biggest scam in the UPA regime, opposition BJP held Prime Minister Manmohan Singh "morally, politically and personally" responsible for the Rs 1.86 lakh crore loss estimated by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in coal block allocation and called for his resignation. At a press conference addressed by its two leaders of opposition in Parliament — Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley — the party made no mention of the two other CAG reports tabled on Friday on the Delhi International Airport Ltd and the Sasan power project, keeping the focus firmly on the Prime Minister. "The other two reports are very important so we will take it up after going through them," Jaitley said.
"The Prime Minister is directly responsible for this wrongful loss as he himself was the minister for most of the eight years that the government took to decide on bidding process for the allocation. He must seriously introspect on accepting moral responsibility for this loss and quitting his office," the BJP leaders said.
The main opposition held Singh responsible for this delay as he was coal minister for five of the eight years. Alleging that "this scam" is bigger than the Rs 1.76 lakh crore 2G swindle, the leaders said they would raise the issue in both Houses of Parliament.
Senior party leader Yashwant Sinha was equally scathing. "After the licence-permit-quota raj, this is yet another instance of robber barons discovering natural resources as happy hunting ground for making windfall gains. They had complete free play. Natural resources, whether it is land, minerals or air waves were all sold at ridiculously low prices through methods that lack transparency," he said.
Sinha added the leadership of the government was liable for action under Prevention of Corruption Act as it was a case of "public policy bereft of public interest".
Rejecting the government's argument that they were merely following recommendations of state governments, both Sinha and Jaitley said the defence was too much of a stretch. "Since when has the UPA become defenders of Centre-state relations? The allocation of major minerals is the job of the Centre," Sinha said while Jaitley made it clear that "coal is a central subject".