New Delhi: Under fire from the Opposition to quit, Law Minister Ashwani Kumar is set to face more heat on Monday. The Central Bureau of Investigation will disclose the full extent of the Law Minister's involvement in vetting the coal scam report its reply to the Supreme Court on Monday.
CNN-IBN's Manoj Gupta has accessed the details of the CBI's reply to several questions posed by the Supreme Court. The agency has made it clear that the status report was shown to Ashwani Kumar and that he had asked to see the report and ordered the removal of a paragraph, which was critical of the Prime Minister's Office.
It also says it had submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court saying the Law Minister had vetted the report. The earlier affidavit also blamed the CBI counsel for misleading the court by saying the report had not been shown to anyone.
Last week, terming it a "massive breach of trust" and a matter that has "shaken its foundation", the Supreme Court of India had taken a very serious note of the CBI affidavit on the coal block allocation scam and asserted that the probe agency must be "liberated" and should not be controlled by "political masters". The apex court also slammed the probe agency for having kept the court in the dark on the issue.
The Supreme Court bench said "suppression" of the fact that CBI has shared its probe report with the government is "not ordinary". A bench headed by Justice RM Lodha observed that there was a "very disturbing feature" in the affidavit filed on April 26 by CBI Director Ranjit Sinha and the agency must be restored to its independent position.
The Supreme Court also posed before CBI some questions related to the investigation. They are:
1. Why was it not disclosed that the March 8 report was shared with the government?
2. Why on March 12 a very emphatic assertion was made by the CBI Counsel that this report was not shared?
3. Besides the Law Minister and two Joint Secretaries, was the report shared with anybody else?
4. Were any changes made in the CBI status report?
5. At whose instance were the changes made and what is the effect of changes?
6. Is the Law Minister entitled to call for such a report?
7. Does it not show erosion of the trust that the court has shown in CBI?
The CBI in its affidavit will answer all these questions. This is likely to increase political trouble for the Congress with the Opposition already demanding Ashwani Kumar's resignation.