Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s dinner diplomacy with the opposition came crashing down on the floor of the house on Wednesday with the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders directly blaming him for the missing coal files.
Amidst uproar in the house, BJP MPs led by Ravi Shankar Prasad even raised the issue of the CBI investigating officer reportedly wanting to question Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the missing files relating to coal block allotments done when he also held the charge of coal ministry. This was enough to upset the Congress MPs who sought Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi’s resignation over the Vanzara revelations.
Earlier on Tuesday evening, Singh held a 90-minute meeting with BJP leaders LK Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley at his residence and requested them to cooperate in the passage of important financial legislations in Parliament. But, the opposition was unmoved.
The BJP leaders were upset as the Prime Minister left both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha immediately after making statements in the two Houses. BJP leaders said they wanted to seek clarifications from the Prime Minister but could not.
In a 10-minute reply to the opposition on multi-crore coal scam and the missing files in Parliament on Tuesday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that the government had nothing to hide and that the efforts were on to locate the missing coal files.
Indirectly attacking the opposition, he said,
“Some people have drawn their own conclusion that something is fishy about the missing coal files.” That is wrong, he said and added that about 1 lakh 50 thousand pages had already been submitted to the Central Bureau of Investigation probing the case and the rest of the pages would be submitted in a stipulated time.
The government had always provided its fullest cooperation to the CAG and the CBI and “we will continue to do so.”
“We are following hon'ble SC orders in letter and spirit,” Singh said and added, “It is too early to say the files are missing.” The government will do its best to hand over the remaining files to the CBI, he said.
However, the BJP leaders said the PM didn’t answer the charges and that he was trying to escape.
The BJP has been demanding for a statement from the Prime Minister, who earlier held the coal portfolio from 2006 to 2009 when the coal blocks were allocated.