The Congress said on Friday that irregularities in allotment of mines in Rajasthan under the BJP government amounted to a Rs 45,000-crore scam and sought chief minister Vasundhra Raje’s resignation.
The fresh offensive from the party, which has pressed for Raje’s resignation since the Lalit Modi scandal, was based on claims that 653 mines were allocated in violation of Centre’s rules that mandated the mines be auctioned.
The party also called for a Supreme Court-monitored investigation during a press conference at the All India Congress Committee’s New Delhi headquarters where Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot, Rajasthan CLP leader Rameshwar Dudi and chief Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala were present.
Pilot and Dudi said that the arrest of principal secretary (mines) Ashok Singhvi was significant given that he had held the same position during Raje’s previous term.
Raje caused a loss of Rs 45,000 crore to the state exchequer by allocating 653 mines in Rajasthan on “first-come-first-served” basis... This was done despite the Centre telling the state not to do so until the policy in this regard had been formulated, the Congress leaders said.
“This is the biggest scam in Rajasthan... This is the biggest loot in Rajasthan. We demand a CBI probe monitored by Supreme Court. We also demand that the chief minister immediately step down as an independent probe is not possible till she holds the post,” Pilot said even as he rejected a probe currently being pursued by the Rajasthan ACB.
Surjewala further alleged that one lakh bighas of land -- which has mineral value of up to Rs 2 lakh crore -- was given away without auction as part of the allocation of the 653 mines. “Had it been auctioned, Rajasthan government could have earned as much as Rs 45,000 crore,” he said.
Meanwhile, replying to a query whether the party would approach the courts in the matter, they said they would raise the issue in Rajasthan Assembly and out on the streets and take all other appropriate steps after obtaining legal advice.