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Coalgate: BJP rejects Chidambaram's zero-loss theory

August 24, 2012 23:43 IST

Rejecting Finance Minister P Chidambaram's zero-loss theory in coal allocation scam because no mining was done, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday said his view was akin to Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal's repudiation of CAG's estimation of presumptive loss in allocation of 2G spectrum.

BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said "it is strange" that Chidambaram is saying about Rs 1.86 lakh crore loss in coal allocation case what Kapil Sibal had said on 2G spectrum allocation issue where CAG had estimated the notional loss to the tune of Rs 1.76 lakh crore.

"He (Chidambaram) has forgotten that it is a question of decision-making", Prasad said.

Chidambaram, at a press conference in New Delhi, said CAG's concept of presumptive loss was "flawed" and there was no loss because no mining has taken place as yet.

"This presumptive loss (of Rs 1.86 lakh crore projected by CAG in its report), I deeply regret to say, is so flawed... incisive articles by very eminent writers have pointed out these flaws.

"If coal is not mined, if it remains buried in mother earth, where is the loss? The loss can arise only once the coal is taken out of mother earth, mined and sold at unacceptable price or value. But if the coal is not mined, where is the loss," the Finance Minister said.

Countering Chidambaram's view, the BJP leader said even in cases where no mining was done the allotee gained as his worth in the market went up due to the blocks he owned.

Giving an example to drive home his point, Prasad said if a person was alloted a piece of prime land, his financial standing in the market would go up even if he did not put the property to any use.

This would help the person financially in any other venture that he undertakes, he added.

The coal block allottees, who did not do any mining, benefitted in a similar manner, Prasad said.

Prasad claimed that due to pressures from the opposition, the government also had to rethink about the 240 acre prime land alloted to DIAL for a "paltry sum".

Describing the finance minister as the "security guard of the Indian treasury", Prasad said that despite the Supreme Court verdict on Friday in the 2G spectrum case, Chidambaram still remains "politically and constitutionally accountable".

He said both then Telecom Minister A Raja and Chidambaram were responsible for the 2G spectrum allocations done in 2008 for only Rs 1658 crore.

"In 2012, when the market conditions are bad as there is hardly any investment, the 2G licenses have been given for Rs 14,000 crore," Prasad said.

"We will continue to insist on Chidambaram's accountability both inside and outside Parliament. There may be no criminal liability per se against him, but it does not absolve him of these responsibilities," he added.

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