India Today - - THE BIG STORY -

Dasari helped the Congress launch a blitzkrieg against po­lit­i­cal ri­vals, par­tic­u­larly TDP, and mak­ing the in­flu­en­tial Kapu caste rally be­hind the party be­tween 1996 and 1999. He was made a Ra­jya Sabha mem­ber in 2000 and be­came min­is­ter of state for coal dur­ing UPA 1 rule in 2004. His al­leged in­volve­ment in the coal scam de­terred the Congress from nom­i­nat­ing him for a third time in 2012.

Mean­while, Jin­dal, a two- time MP who once spent nine years fight­ing for the right to dis­play the national flag, is un­likely to take the present se­quence of events ly­ing down. Given his com­bat­ive spirit, he may chal­lenge the way the agency func­tions once he has an­swered all its ques­tions. The Govern­ment has de­nied per­mis­sion to the agency to ques­tion se­nior of­fi­cers in the Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice and the coal min­istry at the time of al­lo­ca­tion. With the June- end dead­line to ex­plain their fail­ure to de­velop the blocks near­ing, the ben­e­fi­ciary com­pa­nies are likely to sur­ren­der them vol­un­tar­ily.

Hansraj Ahir, BJP MP from Ma­ha­rash­tra and whis­tle- blower in the coal block al­lot­ments, says sev­eral of­fi­cials, who CBI names as ‘ un­known govern­ment of­fi­cials’ in FIRs, will now be un­der scru­tiny. “None of the al­lot­ments could have been made with­out their largescale col­lu­sion,” he says. On June 12, the Govern­ment al­lowed CBI to in­ter­ro­gate for­mer coal sec­re­tary H. C. Gupta who headed the screen­ing com­mit­tee be­tween 2006 and 2009 when the blocks were al­lot­ted.

Busi­ness aside, the po­lit­i­cal fall­out could be dis­as­trous for UPA and the Congress. Speak­ing for the party, ac­tor­politi­cian Raj Bab­bar stuck to the fa­mil­iar “law will take its own course” line. BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar con­tends that the scam is inch­ing closer to Prime Min­is­ter Man­mo­han Singh who en­dorsed the al­lo­ca­tions. In an elec­tion year, the Congress has been left hop­ing that the coal scam does not blacken its elec­toral prospects.

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