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Coal scam: Law Minister asked for removal of paragraph critical of PMO, CBI to tell SC


Bhupendra Chaubey,CNN-IBN
May 05, 2013 at 03:50pm IST

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is likely to tell the Supreme Court on Monday that the agency's status report on coal scam was changed by Law Minister Ashwani Kumar. The details of the CBI affidavit, which it will submit before the Supreme Court on Monday, has been accessed by CNN-IBN.

The CBI has reportedly made it clear in its affidavit that the status report was shown to Ashwani and he had ordered removal of a paragraph which was critical of the PMO. The investigating agency will also tell the apex court that Ashwani saw the report in the presence of two Joint Secretary-level officers.

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The earlier affidavit, filed by the investigating agency, had also blamed the CBI counsel for misleading the court by saying the report was not shown to anyone.

The Law Minister, however, has been maintaining that he has not seen the CBI's status report on coal scam. At a Congress party briefing on Wednesday, Kumar was learnt to have told spokespersons and senior leaders that he has done "no wrong" and hence there should be no shyness in countering opposition charges.

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The briefing was attended by Union Ministers Jairam Ramesh, Pawan Kumar Bansal, Jayanthi Natarajan, Rajiv Shukla, Manish Tewari, and party leaders Janardan Dwivedi, Mohan Prakash, Raj Babbar, Girija Vyas and party spokespersons Sandip Dikshit, Rashid Alvi and Renuka Chowdhary.

In the meeting, Kumar is learnt to have told the party leaders that there was no wrong in his meeting CBI Director Ranjit Sinha as it was well under his jurisdiction and that the Law Minister is the counsellor of CBI. Some of those present, however, pointed out that since perceptions matter in politics, the controversy is creating trouble and it is indeed getting difficult to put up a defence.

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One of the leaders said that even if minor changes were made in the draft report of the CBI, this will give an impression in the public that the agency prepared the report as per the government's instructions.

The sources said that the Law Minister, however, said he had not called the CBI Director in the meeting and he did not know that he brought the status report. He is also learnt to have told them that the meeting was called by Attorney General GE Vahanavati in his chamber and that he was only trying to solve the dispute between the Attorney General and Additional Solicitor General Harin Raval.

(With additional information from PTI)

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