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Not correct for me to comment on Sahai: Chidambaram

September 03, 2012 22:19 IST

Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Monday sidestepped questions on the demands for removal of Union Minister Subodh Kant Sahai, who is embroiled in a controversy over allocation of a coal block in Jharkhand.

"It is unfair on your part to expect me to comment on a colleague. Sahai has responded...It is for the prime minister to weigh is not correct for me to comment on a colleague," Chidambaram said.

He was replying to questions on whether he sees a conflict of interest in Sahai writing a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, seeking allocation of coal blocks to a company having connection with his brother, and why the tourism minister should not step down.

The Bharatiya Janata Party had produced a letter written by Sahai to the prime minister seeking his 'personal intervention' for allocation of two coal blocks to SKS Ispat and Power Limited, which has his younger brother Sudhir Kumar Sahai as an 'honourary executive director'.

Though Sahai had accepted that the letter was written by him, he ruled out resigning from the government. Chidambaram also declined to comment on All India Congress Committee general secretary Digvijay Singh's remarks suggesting political ambition of CAG Vinod Rai behind the controversial report of the national audit body.

Asked whether Congress sees politics behind the issue, he said the 'non-functioning of Parliament is a political problem'.

Chidambaram said President Pranab Mukherjee, when he was finance minister, had aptly remarked that the business of Comptroller and Auditor General was to find faults and to tell what went wrong.

However, there was nothing wrong on a debate on the CAG report, he said. "Why there should not be a debate on the CAG report? ...Judgements of Supreme Court are also criticised," the finance minister said.

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