Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 11:
The summons served on former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh by a special court in New Delhi in connection with the allocation of the Talabira II coal block in Sundargarh district of Odisha has led to a revival of the political slugfest over the issue in the state.
The spotlight was back on the role Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s role in the whole affair.
While the Opposition Congress and BJP have resumed baying for Patnaik’s head, the ruling BJD has sought to hide behind the fig leaf that his role was limited to recommending Hindalco’s case for the coal block.
“The CBI has the right to summon or question anybody if there is prima facie evidence in a case of corruption. We have no problems with this. But what I am surprised about is how the CBI forgot the role of the Odisha Chief Minister’s role in the whole affair? After all, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said in no uncertain terms that the coal block was allocated to Hindalco on the basis of the strong recommendation of the Odisha Chief Minister,” senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Narasingha Mishra said.
The BJP, however, exuded hope that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik could still be summoned in the case. “No one can go scot-free – whether it the Prime Minister or the Chief Minister. The former Prime Minister has made it clear that the coal block was allocated to Hindalco on the basis of the Chief Minister’s recommendation. I am hopeful that the Chief Minister would be summoned by the court in due course. Just wait,” BJP state unit president Kanak Vardhan Singhdeo said.
The BJD was predictably on the defensive making a distinction between a ‘recommendation’ and a ‘decision’.
“We must understand the difference between a recommending authority and those responsible for the final decision. The responsibility lies with those who are supposed to assess and scrutinise the recommendation,” BJD spokesperson and Badchana MLA Amar Satpathy said.