BJP ‘welcomes’ quizzing of Manmohan Singh; govt says it has ‘no role’

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today said it welcomes the questioning of Manmohan Singh by CBI in the coal scam…

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today said it “welcomes” the questioning of Manmohan Singh by CBI in the coal scam as it maintained that the former prime minister cannot shy away from responsibility even as the government led by the saffron party rejected charges that the action was a “vindictive” one.

Singh’s party Congress, however, insisted that it was “wrong” to say that he was “questioned” by CBI as the former prime minister had offered to cooperate with the investigations and had provided whatever information was sought in the interests of justice.

“BJP welcomes CBI’s questioning of Singh, who held the coal portfolio when most of the irregularities in coal scam took place. CBI has examined the former prime minister on the advice of the CBI special court judge,” said BJP spokesperson GVL Narsimha Rao.

Meanwhile, in the wake of reported allegations by some Congress leaders that the questioning of Singh was a “vindictive” act on its part, the government today came out to say that it had no role in the matter.

“The government has no role at all… Congress is speaking in two voices. While one person says (the examination) is vindictive, another spokesperson says it is part of a legal process. They (Congress leaders) should sit down and decide on what to speak… It is the hobby of Congress to go into a disinformation campaign without knowing what they are saying,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala asserted today that it was “wrong” to say that Singh was “questioned” by CBI in connection with the coal-block allocation case.

“As prime minister and thereafter, Singh had said that he was ready to cooperate with investigations of any nature… Certain clarifications/information was sought… (which was provided) in the best interest to ensure that justice prevails,” Surjewala said.

Clarifying that “nobody has charged Singh with corruption”, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said that the former prime minister, however, was “the signatory for all the illegal allocations” and therefore “cannot shy away from responsibility”.

Further reacting to charges that the BJP-led government was pursuing a political vendetta against Congress, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “Congress remembers its own habit when it misused CBI to make many allegations against others. As far as we are concerned, CBI is functioning with neutrality.”

A team of CBI officials had examined the former Prime Minister at his residence three days back, before a Jan. 27 deadline for submitting a status report in the coal block allocation scam with a special CBI court.

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