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BJP demands SIT probe into coal row

HT Correspondent, PTI  New Delhi, September 11, 2012
First Published: 19:50 IST(11/9/2012) | Last Updated: 23:37 IST(11/9/2012)

Calling for an SIT probe into the allocation of coal blocks monitored by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), the BJP on Tuesday attacked the UPA leaders for alleged involvement in the allocation of coal blocks to their kin.

The party also charged that despite the Screening Committee not meeting after 2008, 36 companies were allotted 17 coal blocks.

"Sriprakash Jaiswal had recently said all Jaiswals are his relatives... Was he an arbitrator in the dispute of one Manoj Jaiswal in 2008? In what capacity was he an arbitrator? Manoj is involved with Abhijeet group with which the Darda brothers are also connected," BJP spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad said, seeking to establish that there were close contacts between the minister and the Abhijeet group.

He also attacked former Union minister of state for coal Santosh Bagrodia: "BJP demands that the huge contract worth Rs. 23,000 crore to then Union minister Santosh Bagrodia... needs to be properly investigated."

Prasad said a letter written by Manoj Jaiswal to his father said the Lokmat group had helped bag allotments for the AMR group. Significantly, Congress MP Vijay Darda is editor-in-chief of Lokmat.

Charging that kin of several influential Congress leaders as well as those of its allies were involved, BJP named Subodh Kant Sahai, Vijay Darda and his brother Rajendra, Manoj Jaiswal, Prem Kumar Gupta, S Jagatrakshakan and Madhu Koda as beneficiaries of the scam.

Prasad also attacked the PM, whose resignation his party has been demanding.

"Were you (Manmohan) mechanically signing these allotments as the coal minister? The Screening Committee is only a recommendatory body. Did you try to investigate?"

On Wednesday senior BJP leaders LK advani, Sushma Swaraj will meet President Pranab Mukherjee to submit a memorandum "complaining government's criticism against CAG and demanding scrapping of the allotment and a fair probe."

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