Coal block allocation: Probe sought over Naveen Patnaik's role
Bhubaneswar, March 11: After a special court summoned former prime minister Manmohan Singh in a coal block allocation case, the Congress and BJP on Wednesday said that they expected that Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's role would also be probed.
Patnaik had recommended to the central government allocation of Talabira-II coal block to Hindalco in 2005.
"The CBI has the right to summon or question anybody if there is prima facie evidence in a case of corruption. But what I am surprised about is how the CBI forgot the role of Odisha chief minister in the whole affair," said senior Congress leader Narasingh Mishra.
He said Manmohan Singh has already clarified that the coal block was allocated to Hindalco on the basis of Odisha chief minister's recommendation.
Odisha BJP president K.V. Singhdeo hoped that Patnaik could still be summoned in the case.
"No one can escape from the probe... be it the former prime minister or the chief minister. I am hopeful that the chief minister would be summoned by the court in due course for recommending the coal block in favour of Hindalco. Just wait," Singhdeo told media persons.
The Biju Janata Dal (BJD), however, was in a defensive mode and tried to shift the blame on the central government, stating that it has the final authority to decide on the matter.
"The chief minister had only recommended the case and it was the Centre which had the final say. We must understand the difference between a recommending authority and those responsible for the final decision," said BJD spokesperson Amar Satpathy.