Law minister will not resign, asserts PM

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    New Delhi, (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday ruled out his or Law Minister Ashwani Kumar’s resignation on the coal blocks allocation issue and hit out at the opposition for disrutping parliament over it.

    The prime minister’s assertion comes a day after the opposition demanded the law minister’s removal for vetting a draft Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) report on the coal scam, meant only for the Supreme Court.

    “There is no question of the law minister resigning. The matter is now in the court and it is sub-judice. Therefore, it is not proper for me to do anything, but there is no question of the law minister resigning,” the prime minister told reporters on the sidelines of a defence investiture ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

    Playing down the demand for his own resignation, the prime minister attacked the opposition for disrupting the parliament over the issue and said the world was laughing at India because of this.

    “This is not the first time…in the last nine years how many times the opposition has demanded my resignation. But I would like to appeal to the opposition that they should let the parliament function. By not allowing parliament to function, we are making a mockery of our system of democracy. The whole world is laughing at us.”

    Parliament was the proper fora for debating all issues, he stressed.

    “Whatever the issues, these can be debated, discussed and decisions arrived at through proper dialogue in parliament,” he said.

    However, Manmohan Singh refused to comment on the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) charge that he was using the law minister to cover himself in the probe into the alleged irregularities in the allocation of coal mines during United Progressive Alliance’s first term (2004-09).

    “I would not like to comment (on this subject). It is a matter which is now before the court and it is subjudice,” he said.