Raising the stakes, the Bharayiya Janata Party on Wednesday sought voluntary deposition of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh before the Central Bureau of Investigation on the controversial coal block allocations amid demands by the opposition for immediate registration of a first information report in the missing files case.
Terming as "very serious" the issue of files going missing in the alleged scam amounting to a whopping Rs 1.86 lakh crore, Opposition members said in Parliament that there were apprehensions that the government has a "lot to hide" and the case may meet a "dead end".
Both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha took up impromptu short duration discussions on the missing coal files issue as part of a compromise reached between the government and the BJP to end the stand-off that was triggered as the prime minister left immediately after making a statement in both Houses.
In the Lok Sabha, Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj said she did not believe that the files had just gone missing and contended that it was a case of theft and demanded immediate registration of an FIR. "It is a matter of theft. That is why there should be an immediate FIR," she said, adding "the government should tell us by when an FIR will be lodged."
Swaraj said in case the government did not register the FIR, it would be construed that it has much to hide. Targeting the PM, she said he is "under cloud" as he held the coal portfolio between 2006 and 2009.
"If the prime minister wants to see himself come clean on this issue, he should himself come forward and offer to depose before the CBI," she said. Quoting media reports, she said, a key CBI official has demanded that there was need to "examine" the prime minister.
"The prime minister is in the dock. He was the in-charge minister when controversial coal block allocations happened. When are you going to file FIR on missing files? It is a serious issue. There should not be any pressure on the CBI," Swaraj said.
In the Rajya Sabha, Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley said, "Documentary evidence is being destroyed and oral examination is not being permitted. Therefore, the entire result is that this case may lead to a dead end."