Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh on Thursday said it was not possible to cancel all the coal block allocations but asserted that no one, even if a minister or a senior official, would be spared if found involved in the coal scam.
"The government is not protecting anyone," Ramesh told a press conference.
Charging chief ministers of BJP-ruled states with recommending coal block allocations in large scale, he wondered whether "this was the reason BJP president Nitin Gadkari has preferred to keep silent on the issue."
Ramesh said the CBI has been probing the scam and the Centre would take stern action against the culprits, even if he was a minister or a senior official.
Stating that it was not possible to cancel all coal blocks allotted during the disputed period, he said at least four to five years time was required to develop and start production in the mine.
He, however, said coal blocks of those companies, which have failed to start work in coal blocks within the stipulated time frame and set norms or got allocated in wrong manner, should be cancelled.
Asked about the union ministers whose names have allegedly featured in the coal scam, Ramesh said Congress high command was well aware about them and would take appropriate action at an appropriate time.
Ramesh came to Jharkhand to review the development work at Saranda forest in West Singhbhum district.