This has put the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament under a cloud, with BJP sources saying there was a likelihood of disruption of Parliament if the PM doesn’t respond to their demand.
Holding a press conference, senior BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley insisted that while the CAG's findings amounted to a loss to the public exchequer bigger than that in the 2G scam, the PM was directly responsible here as he was coal minister for about five years — with a small break — between 2004 and 2009.
“In the 2G scam, the PM was politically and vicariously liable,” Jaitley told reporters. “In this case, for a substantial period from 2004 to 2009, he was himself the minister. Thus, he is politically, morally and directly liable. If he is directly liable, he has to introspect that he should own up responsibility and impose on himself the moral sanction of quitting his office.”
Coming heavy on the UPA-led government, Swaraj said: “A new chapter has been added to the UPA graft story. This is the biggest (scam).”
Meanwhile, the CPM demanded the PM should come clear in Parliament about the coalfield allocations and answer why coal blocks weren’t allocated “transparently”.
“Private coal block allottees have made a whopping financial gain… A substantial part of this could have accrued to the national exchequer if the decision to introduce competitive bidding was implemented.”