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Coalgate Claims First Victim

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The coalgate scam on Tuesday, 30 April claimed its first victim as Additional Solicitor General Haren Raval resigned from the post in the wake of the controversy over his statement in the Supreme Court that the CBI probe report was not shared with anyone.

Raval, who was replaced as the CBI counsel in the crucial hearing today, handed over his resignation to Law Minister Ashwani Kumar in the evening.

"I have submitted my resignation to the Law Minister," he told PTI.

His resignation came a day after he created a political storm by writing a hard-hitting letter to Attorney General G E Vahanvati in which he accused him of interfering in the preparation of CBI's probe report and was made a scapegoat in the matter.

Liberate CBI From Political Influence
In a damning indictment, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said CBI's act of sharing the status report on Coalgate with the government has "shaken" the entire investigation process and vowed to "liberate" the agency from political influence and interference.
Notwithstanding some strong words, the Supreme Court's observations and directions in the coal blocks allocation scam came as a breather for the beleaguered government as the CBI Director has been given time till May six to file a fresh affidavit in the case. The matter will come up for hearing on May eight.
At the end of a two-hour hearing, the court sought a series of clarifications from CBI Director Ranjit Sinha "as to why in the status report dated March 8, 2013, no disclosure was made to the court that the draft report has been shared with the political executive".
It also wanted to how Additional Solicitor General Haren Raval had made an assertive statement on March 12 that the status report was not shared with anyone.
Meanwhile, the Opposition, including BJP, Left and other parties walked out of Lok Sabha, charging the government with indulging in one scam after another and saying they would not be party to the passage of the Finance Bill and the Railway Budget.
No Regrets, Says Raval
Raval, who was the ASG since July 4, 2009, said he has no regret in writing the controversial letter in which he claimed that the Attorney General was also present in the meeting on March 6 when the draft status report was shared with Law Minister and two officials of joint secretary rank of the PMO and Ministry of Coal.

"Yes, I stand by what I have stated in my letter to the Attorney General," he said to a question.

In the letter, Raval claimed that despite being aware of the contents of the status report, the AG on March 12 submitted in the apex court that he was not in the know of it.
Raval said due to AG's submission, he was also forced to take the same stand.

"...while replying to the queries on March 12, 2013 as regards what was contained in the Status Report, you had deemed it appropriate to take a stand that the contents of the Status Report were not known to you, which fact you knew to be incorrect.

"On account of your statement, I felt embarrassed and was forced to take a stand, in Court, consistent with your submission made as Attorney General for India, that the contents of the Status Report were not known to you and that they were not shared with the Government," Raval said in his letter to the AG.

In his letter, Raval also claimed that he was asked to attend a meeting with the law minister in the presence of the AG and also the CBI Director to consider whether the CBI should disclose the status of investigation on an affidavit in compliance of the order dated January 24 or should a Status Report be filed.

He claimed that he had reiterated his stand of filing an affidavit in the court and "was a silent spectator when a decision was taken to file a Status Report instead of an Affidavit," which was to be shown to the AG as was decided in the meeting.

Raval claimed that in many high profile cases he had to face indignation on account Vahanvati's temperament.

Raval concluded his letter saying, "It has constantly pained and anguished me that I have had to face unnecessary indignation on account of your intolerant temperament towards the conscientious discharge of duties especially in high profile cases.

"I have held you in great esteem as leader of our team but your flip flop attitude towards me has always put me under unnecessary pressure."

"I have a feeling that I am sought to be made scapegoat but I am confident that truth will always prevail.