NEW DELHI: Asserting that there was no question of anyone benefitting from the coal blocks allocation, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal on Wednesday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of raking up the issue in its desperation to come to power at the Centre before the 2014 polls.
"Under the nationalisation policy, coal cannot be sold... Coal from the blocks allotted was never sold. So, who could have benefitted. Why is there so much of noise? Did anyone sell the coal?" he asked.
Sibal also rejected BJP's demand for cancellation of 142 licences in the coal blocks allocation, saying that this would cause huge monetary loss and affect the nation's power sector.
"We cannot cancel the licences. It will be lead to wastage of crores of rupees. Many banks are involved and the decision will affect the power sector badly," he added, while rejecting the opposition demand for cancellation of the licences for coal block allocation.
Kapil Sibal also said the BJP was finding fault with coal block allocations made during the United Progressive Alliance rule, but the process adopted by the earlier National Democratic Alliance government lacked transparency.
Criticising the BJP for paralysing parliamentary proceedings, Sibal Sibal alleged that the 'ideology' used to assassinate Mahatma Gandhi is being used now to 'kill' Indian democracy.
"The BJP does not think about the nation. It wants to come to power before 2014. It just believes in the ideology of disruption and killing of democracy," he said.
Retorting to Sibal's comment that the BJP was destroying democracy, the party asserted that the party has protected democracy in the country.
BJP leader Yashwant Sinha slammed Sibal, saying it was the BJP and other parties currently in the opposition that protected democracy.
"What right does he have to talk about democracy? He is from the party which murdered democracy by imposing Emergency in 1975. Democracy is still there in this country because of the parities which are in opposition and because of the sacrifices of the BJP," Sinha said.
He also accused Sibal of "reducing the level of discourse by mentioning Mahatma Gandhi's assassination".
"I think Mr. Kapil Sibal has reduced the level of discourse to lowest level. He is talking about assassination of Mahatma Gandhi," Sinha said.
A Comptroller and Auditor General's (CAG) report said irregularities in coal block allocation resulted in presumptive losses of Rs.1.86 lakh crore ($37 billion) to the exchequer. (Agencies)
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