New Delhi: The opposition on Friday raised questions over the meeting between Minister of State in PMO V Narayanasamy and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director Ranjit Sinha and said the probe agency is being "politicised". But the Union Minister has said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is making an "issue out of nothing".
"On the eve of the submission and such an important date if he (Narayanasamy) has met CBI director, it raises serious question on the conduct. Government is out there to abuse and misuse CBI," alleged BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar.
"CBI director did not go to salute him (Narayanasamy). He must have been conveying some message from the political leadership," said CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta. The CBI filed its affidavit in the Supreme Court on Friday on whether the government misled the apex court on the status report on the coal block allocation scam.
But Narayanasamy has defended the meeting saying Sinha had invited him only for a function. "I attended the function in the evening, had dinner as well. I spent an hour there as well. BJP is making an issue out of nothing," said the Minister.
While pressure had been building on the CBI to file the affidavit, the government had asserted it did not vet the the probe agency's status report. All eyes are on whether the investigating agency will say that Law Minister Ashwini Kumar had vetted their coal block allocation report. CBI sources have indicated to CNN-IBN that nothing will be hidden from the court - 30th April will be when the hearing takes place.
There were noisy scenes in Parliament on Thursday with the opposition gunning for Kumar and demanding that he take accountability and step down. The opposition has also been stepping up pressure on the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Congress sources have said that contrary to reports, the Prime Minister had not asked for any intervention. On Friday, leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley gave a breach of privilege notice in the House.
The CBI is set to tell the Supreme Court that the probe agency's report on coal block allocation scam was shared with the Law Ministry on its request and that Law Minister Ashwani Kumar had vetted the report, a charge the Congress has been rejecting. CNN-IBN has accessed the details of the CBI's affidavit.
The CBI affidavit will also include the original status report on the coal block allocation scam, which concluded that there was a lack of transparency in the Centre's coal policy. The role of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and the government in coal allocations is also part of the CBI report.
In March, the probe agency had said in its status report that many companies were given coal blocks through false representations and that there was no rationale for allocation of the blocks. The Supreme Court had ordered the CBI not to share the report with the government. It has also asked the Centre to explain why a small group of companies were favoured.
Top CBI sources told CNN-IBN that if asked, they will tell the SC that the Law Minister had indeed vetted the report on the scam. Earlier in April, a report in a national daily had said the CBI status report was vetted by Ashwani Kumar and officials of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) but the Congress had distanced itself saying the matter is pending in court. Questions have also been raised about the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's own knowledge about the entire coal scam probe report.
The main Opposition the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been demanding resignation of the Law Minister in the wake of reports that he had summoned the CBI chief after which the report on the scam was "toned down". Congress had rejected the charge of interference and has ruled out resignation of the Law Minister.