Joint statement by BJP leaders -- Leader of Opposition (Lok Sabha) and Leader of Opposition (Rajya Sabha) on Coal Scam
The Monsoon Session of Parliament has ended today. Even though important issues were taken up for consideration, in the first week of Parliament session, debate in the subsequent sittings of the Parliament could not be held on account of involvement of the UPA government in the monumental case of corruption known as coal block allotment scam.
This is the biggest corruption scandal in the Indian history. The government having taken a policy decision to allot coal blocks through a competitive bidding system, delayed indefinitely the implementation of the policy and used the discretionary and corrupt method of allotting them through the screening committee. This has resulted in a huge loss of Rs. 1,86,000 crores to the Public Exchequer and a corresponding gain to private parties. Descriptions which have appeared in the media in the last three weeks with regard to individual cases, conclusively establish that the coal block allotments were national loot. It was a case of crony capitalism at its worst. A large number of politicians and business persons, close to the UPA, have been the beneficiaries of this allotment. Many have nothing to do with either steel or power sectors. Many were name-lenders and rentiers. They used their political clout to get an allocation, either in their own name or in the name of a joint venture. And then they exited after a windfall gain. All this was happening under the very nose of the Prime Minister, who was also the Coal Minister.
The BJP as the principal Opposition party could not remain silent. We used this session of Parliament to shake the conscience of the people of India, and appealed to the government to correct the monumental fraud committed on the Public Exchequer. One session of Parliament has earlier been lost on account of the corruption in the allotment of 2G Spectrum. That helped this country to cleanse up the telecom sector. Hopefully, the long term gains of this session may enable future governments to cleanse up the process of allocation of natural resources.
The government has been advancing frivolous arguments such as ‘Zero Loss’ theory or that the Congress has never disrupted the Parliament or the possible hike in Electricity rates if competitive bidding is done. The recent disclosures made by a news channel, with regard to the minutes of the meeting, held in the office of the Prime Minister, on July 25, 2005 conclusively establishes that the kingpin of this entire delay was the Prime Minister’s office or the Prime Minister himself. They were aware of the fact that competitive bidding will only transfer the windfall gains to government exchequer and not hike the power rates. The interim allocation that was to be done for a brief period was converted into allocation of 142 coal blocks, which led to depletion of coal resources and a gain to private parties. For the BJP, this is not merely a political battle. It is a battle for safeguarding the economic resources for a larger public good. For us, it is a struggle for a fair policy for allocation of natural resources. Even if there has been a loss of Parliament’s debating time, on account of the very nature of our protest, we are confident that this protest, coupled with our forthcoming battle from Parliament to the people, will cleanse up the process for fair system of allocation of natural resources.