The Prime Minister's Office did not issue any order favouring allocation of gas to firms owned by Shipping Minister TR Baalu’s family, Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
But the statement failed to convince the opposition, who have been demanding the Baalu’s resignation. Unwilling to hear Deora out, they raised slogans and demanded a statement from PM Manmohan Singh.
The PM left the House as soon as Finance Minister P. Chidambaram finished his reply on the Finance Bill. The BJP and AIADMK were livid that the PM left without responding, and the din forced the deputy chairperson to adjourn the House till Monday.
Left to do the firefighting, Deora admitted that Baalu had briefed him about the “great injustice done to the workers and investors” of Kings India Power Corporation Ltd. He said certain references were received from the PMO, without any recommendation, on the basis of a representation of the firm. He said the issue relating to gas supply was with the Delhi HC and the matter was sub judice.
JDU’s Digvijay Singh gave a notice of breach of privilege against Deora for making a statement on the issue outside Parliament. On Tuesday, Deora had defended the PMO, saying there was “no nepotism” involved in the case.