New Delhi: Sacked Law Minister Ashwani Kumar on Saturday came out in his defence saying he resigned only to avoid any unnecessary controversy claiming that his conscience still remains clear. "I tendered my resignation to put an end to unnecessary controversy in a matter pending before the Supreme Court. My conscience remains clear and I believe I will remain vindicated," Ashwani Kumar said.
He also said that his resignation was a political decision and not because of any wrongdoing. "No adverse observation has been made by the court against me. I hope the truth will prevail. When the resignation is given, it does not imply there is any wrongdoing, these are political decisions," Ashwani Kumar said. "It is the prerogative of the Prime Minister to ask his colleague when to resign," he added.
Meanwhile, it seems that the government is distancing itself from Ashwani Kumar. Sources say that the government had prepared a statement to defend Ashwani Kumar after he resigned, however, it did not release that statement. Soyrces say the statement said, "Ashwani resigned because of perception and his resignation should not be seen as corruption. He has not been indicted by the Supreme Court in any way."
Ashwani was considered close to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a factor which is said to have played a role in the delay and dilly-dallying over his exit from the Union Cabinet after the controversy broke out over his meeting with the CBI Director and making changes in the the agency's draft probe report on coalgate.
The Supreme Court had on Wednesday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) not to share details of its investigations into the coal scam with anybody. The apex court said that the CBI Director will be held directly responsible for it. "The report will not be shared with law officers or any minister concerned," the SC said.
The SC further directed former CBI DIG Ranjit Kanta to resume his charge of the case. Kanta was transferred after he sought deputation to the Intelligence Bureau.
The SC lambasted the government and the CBI over the shoddy investigations and the alleged political interference in the coal scam case. Calling the CBI a caged parrot that only spoke in its master's voice, the SC, in a strong censure, called for making the investigative agency an autonomous body. The apex court, however, was quick to add that giving unbridled powers to the CBI was not a possibility.
The SC also came down heavily on Attorney General GE Vahanvati and former Additional Solicitor General Harin Raval who had backed the former's claims that the CBI report on the coal scam had not been shared with political leaders. The SC also asked how "on earth" could the joint secretaries of the PMO and the Coal Ministry be party to the meet between the CBI and the Law Minister and how could they see the CBI's report and suggest changes to it.