New Delhi: Congress has sought to turn the tables on the BJP following the apex court's verdict on coal bloc allocation, reminding the party that there was an NDA government for six years between 1998 and 2004.
The Supreme Court Monday held that all coal block allocations made since 1993 till 2010 before pre-auction era during previous NDA and UPA regimes have been done in an illegal manner by an "ad-hoc and casual" approach "without application of mind".
Reacting to the verdict, Congress spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed said the Supreme Court verdict has once again brought out what was said in a report of an Standing Committee earlier, which had concluded that required transparency was not maintained in coal block allocations since 1993.
"In the period between 1993 and 2009, the NDA also had a government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee between 1998 and 2004. The policy of coal block allocation followed by the NDA was continued during the UPA regime.
"It was UPA Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who started to issue advertisement for the coal block allocation, which had not happened from 1993 to 1998. A screening committee at the state level was also set up then," he said.
Rejecting the BJP's charge, Ahmed said the SC's order had on the contrary proved "totally wrong" the allegations levelled by BJP and NDA against Congress.
Congress leader and former Union Minister Manish Tewari, said "their stand has been vindicated as this is precisely what the Congress has been saying."
He said the process followed between 2004 and 2009 was same that was being followed between 1993 and 2004.
"Therefore, if the Supreme Court has come to a conclusion with regards to the entire period between 1993 to 2009 and the conclusion is uniform in nature, it obviously vindicates what we are saying," he said.
The apex court, which examined the allocation of 218 blocks, said "Common good and public interest have, thus, suffered heavily" as "there was no fair and transparent procedure, all resulting in unfair distribution of the national wealth."