BJP hurls fresh charge of PMO ‘bias’

Accuses it of allotment to firm on Sahay’s request

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: August 29, 2012 1:05:03 am

Continuing its tirade against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the alleged arbitrary coal block allocations to private companies,the Opposition BJP on Tuesday accused the Prime Minister’s Office of lending its weight to allotment of coal blocks to a private company on the request of Union minister Subodh Kant Sahay.

The BJP released a copy of a recommendation letter purportedly written by Sahay to the PM,seeking his “personal intervention” for allocation of two coal blocks for a private company — SKS Ispat and Power Limited — for its steel plant in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.

In addition,the BJP furnished the government reply to his written question regarding non-operationalisation of plants by private companies in receipt of captive coal blocks to claim that the government allotted one coal block to the said company the very next day.

“Subodh Kant Sahay,the then Minister of State for Food Processing Industries,wrote a letter on February 5,2008 to PM Singh seeking his personal intervention fo allotting coal blocks to M/S SKS Ispat and Power Limited. One should expect that the PM would have replied saying that it was for the Screening Committee to decide and he cannot make personal intervention…. But papers with us suggest that the PMO forwarded his letter to the coal secretary for action as appropriate the next day on February 6,2008. What is surprising,the government’s written reply in the Rajya Sabha yesterday reveals that SKS Ispat and Power Limited was allotted a coal block the same day,” said BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar. “The government owes an explanation on this.”

He sought to punch holes in the PM’s argument that the government did not stop the coal block allocation pending legislative clearance for competitive bidding mechanism fearing it will delay the supply of coal for economic growth.

Kickback staple of Cong: Jaitley

Congress president Sonia Gandhi has asked her partymen to be aggressive against the BJP. The BJP,in turn,has returned the fire against Sonia’s charge of “blackmail is the political bread and butter” of the BJP,saying that the grand old party has “kickbacks and commissions” as its staple diet. “A government whose integrity has been painted black in the coal deals cannot be blackmailed. The staple diet of Congress ever since Bofors has been kickbacks and commissions,” BJP leader Arun Jaitley reacted to Sonia’s attack.

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