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Press Trust Of India
Bangalore, September 08, 2012
Defending Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, corporate affairs and power minister M Veerappa Moily today said that it was unfair to hold him responsible for the coalgate as it was a collective decision of the Screening Committee to allocate the coal blocks.

The applications for coal block allocations were examined and evaluated by a broad-based Screening Committee with representatives from state governments, related ministries of the central government and coal companies. "The decision was that of many participants in the Screening Committee, it is unfair to hold the Prime Minister responsible for coalgate," he told reporters here.

The policy of allocation of coal blocks to private parties, which the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has criticised, was not a new policy introduced by the UPA, Moily said, adding, previous governments including NDA also allocated coal blocks through the screening committee.

Moily said the CAG report on coal block allocations will be referred to the Parliament's Public Accounts Committee and later tabled in the Lok Sabha.

The CAG report had estimated an undue benefit of Rs. 1.86 lakh crore to private firms in allocation of 57 coal blocks between 2005 and 2009 without competitive bidding.

The Prime Minister had yesterday promised that issues raised in the CAG report would not be swept under the carpet and the necessary corrective action will be taken even as he lashed out at the BJP for pursuing obstructionist politics.