State

BJP, Cong demands Questioning of Naveen in Coal Scam

Bhubaneswar, Dec 18: A day after the CBI was directed by a special court to examine former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the case of Talabira II coal block allocation to Hindalco, BJP and Congress on Wednesday demanded interrogation of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik by the central agency.

"Since Naveen Patnaik had recommended allocation of Talabira II coal block to Hindalco, he should also be interrogated by the CBI," BJP's Odisha unit president K V Singhdeo told reporters here.

If Manmohan Singh, who was the Coal Minister in 2005, can be examined by CBI in the Talabira II coal block case, the investigating agency also needs to question Naveen Patnaik in the case, Singhdeo said.

Stating that the Centre earlier maintained that the coal block allocation had been made on the basis of the state government's recommendation, he said it is now pertinent to investigate the role of the Chief Minister in the matter.

"Naveen cannot get away by saying he had recommended the coal block allocation in the interest of the state... He needs to be questioned," said Singhdeo.

Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Prasad Harichandan said Naveen Patnaik should face the CBI investigation as the coal block had been allocated on the basis of his letter of recommendation to the Centre.

Dismissing the opposition demand, ruling BJD spokesperson Pratap Keshari Deb said just because the special court has directed the CBI to examine Manmohan Singh, it was not proper to demand questioning of the Chief Minister.

-PTI

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