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'Coalgate Report Shared With Law Minister, PMO'

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Dropping a political bombshell, CBI Director Ranjit Sinha told the Supreme Court on Thursday, 26 April 2013, that the agency's status report on coal allocation scam was "shared" with Law Minister Ashwani Kumar and senior officials of PMO and Coal ministry "as desired by them".

Unfazed by the Opposition demand, the government, however, ruled out the resignation of Law Minister Ashwani Kumar who said that he has done "no wrong" in the matter concerning CBI's report to the Supreme Court on the coal scam.

Sinha's two-page affidavit is silent on whether any changes were made in the draft report after it was shared with the government before being filed in the apex court in a sealed envelope.

The affidavit assumes importance in the wake of allegations that the contents of the report were diluted at government's behest.

The affidavit, filed on the direction of the apex court, belies the claim made by CBI counsel on the last date of hearing that the coalgate scam report was not shared with any member of the government.

"I submit that the draft of the same (status report) was shared with Law Minister as desired by him prior to its submission before the Supreme Court. Besides the political executive, it was also shared with one joint secretary level officer each of Prime Minister's Office and Ministry of Coal as desired by them," the affidavit said.

In his affidavit, Sinha assured the apex court that the agency will not share further status reports in this case with any member of the political executive.

He also said that the latest status report being filed today has not been shared with any political executive in "any manner whatsoever".

"I confirm that the present status report being filed in this court has not been shared with any political executive in any manner whatsoever.

"In respect of further status reports of the investigation and inquiry required to be filed in this matter before this court, I undertake and assure this court that the same shall not be shared with any political executive," the affidavit said.

All eyes will now be on the Supreme Court to see how it will react to Sinha's affidavit when the case comes up for hearing on April 30.

Govt Rules Out Resignation Of Law Minister
Unfazed by the Opposition's demand, the government ruled out the resignation of Law Minister Ashwani Kumar who said that he has done "no wrong" in the matter concerning CBI's report to the Supreme Court on the coal scam.

"I have done no wrong. Truth will prevail," Kumar said after a meeting of UPA chaired by Sonia Gandhi and attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Kumar, whose sacking is being demanded by the Opposition parties, also met the Prime Minister to give his version on the issue. He also met Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath separately.

"There is no question of his resignation. He is not going to resign," Nath told reporters here after the meeting when asked whether Kumar had offered to resign.

With regard to the CBI affidavit, he said, "It is for the court to decide." Sources close to Kumar said he can't be "faulted" as it is in CBI's remit to consult the Law Minister on documents having legal ramification.

They also said that since Kumar is not the executive authority controlling CBI,  the agency is free not to share any detail which it does not want to.

They also indicated that a meeting with CBI did not mean the CBI report was altered.

Suggesting that there was no wrongdoing by Kumar, Nath said CBI has stated that only the draft report was shown to the Minister and not the final report.

To a question why the officials of PMO and the Coal Ministry were also present during the CBI meeting with the Law Minister, he said the contents of the report were to be provided by the Coal Ministry and the Prime Minister had held the coal portfolio for some time.

"The legal aspect is looked into by the Law Minister," Nath said.

He spoke to media after Gandhi and the Prime Minister held consultations with UPA leaders in the wake of CBI affidavit filed in the Supreme Court earlier in the day.

In the affidavit, CBI Director Ranjit Sinha said the agency's status report on coal allocation scam was "shared" with the Law Minister "as desired by him" and that senior officials of PMO and the Coal Ministry had also seen it.

Nath said the UPA meeting also discussed the logjam in Parliament for the last four days and the ways to end it.

"We discussed how Parliament can function from next week through better coordination. The UPA Chairperson held discussions with the allies. The discussion centred on non- functioning of Parliament and unacceptable demands by some political parties. We discussed what can be done so that Parliament can function from next week," he said.

On BJP's demand for resignation of the Prime Minister, Nath said, "In the last nine years, they have put forth this demand every three months. It is not justified."

(Agencies)


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