New Delhi: Just a day after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered a case in the coal block allocations case of 2006-09, the Prime Minister's Office has turned the tables, accusing BJP President Nitin Gadkari's son of benefiting in the deal.
"Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh's government allocated coal blocks to those close to BJP President Nitin Gadkari. The issue was not allowed to be raised in the Assembly," said Minister of State for the Prime Minister's Office V Narayanswamy.
The CBI on Friday registered a preliminary enquiry into the coal block allocations, after the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) referred the allocation between 2006 and 2009 for a CBI probe.
The CVC has asked the investigating agency to complete the inquiry in three months.
Team Anna is, however, far from satisfied. Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal has hit out at the government saying the outcome of the investigation was already known.
Pointing out that the CBI functions directly under the Prime Minister, Kejriwal questioned how the investigating agency would probe the role of Singh.
"We reject a CBI probe into the coal block allocation. The CBI will give a clean chit to the Prime Minister," he said.
He further said, "If the Prime Minister says that he has not done anything wrong, then why is he scared of an independent probe?"
Addressing a press conference in Ghaziabad, the anti-corruption crusader reiterated that a Special Investigation Team (SIT) must be constituted and it should probe the allegations against 15 ministers, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, as well as the charges on the members of Team Anna.
"If we are not scared of an independent investigation, then why is the PM running away from it?" said Kejriwal, adding that there was a need of the probe to find out who decided not to auction the coal blocks.
The allegations in the coal blocks scam say that that there was a delay of nearly two years in auctioning process, allegedly designed by the Coal Ministry to benefit some companies. It also says that the allocation of blocks to 156 companies was not proper as they handed over operations to other companies at a premium and that allotees outsourced it to third parties at a premium.
It is also alleged that the price of 1,700 crore metric tonne of coal worth Rs 51 lakh crore was given almost free to private companies.
However, both the PMO and the government clarified that the process was transparent, done through a select committee and that even some BJP states have much to answer for, as few had opposed the auction of coal blocks.