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Coal scam: No question of Law Minister resigning, says PM


Pallavi Ghosh, CNN-IBN
Apr 27, 2013 at 02:48pm IST

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday ruled out the possibility of Law Minister Ashwani Kumar resigning over the coal scam affidavit. "There is no question of the Law Minister resigning. The matter is in court and subjudice. Opposition should allow Parliament to function. We are making a mockery of the system. The whole world is laughing at us," Manmohan Singh said.

This comes even as the Opposition continues to press for the Law Minister's resignation. Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley has said that the Opposition will be satisfied with nothing less than Law Minister Ashwani Kumar's resignation.

ALSO SEE Coal scam: Govt defiant, backs Law Minister as Oppn asks him to quit

The government has remained defiant and said there was no need for the minister to resign. Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director Ranjit Sinha on Friday informed the Supreme Court that the draft report on the coal block allocation scam was shared with Law Minister Ashwani Kumar before its submission.

The affidavit, which the probe agency filed with the Supreme Court on Friday morning, has given more ammunition to the Opposition, which has been demanding resignations of both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Kumar.

"Truth will prevail. I have done nothing wrong," said Kumar, who met the Prime Minister shortly after the CBI submitted its report. "Political executives did not see the final status report given to the Supreme Court. There is no need for the Law Minister to resign," Parliamentary Affair Minister Kamal Nath said, backing Kumar. Sources have said Congress President Sonia Gandhi is also against Ashwani Kumar's resignation.

Sinha has said in the affidavit that the draft of the report was shared with Kumar "as desired by him", a charge that the Congress has been rejecting. The director has also said the draft of the report was even shared with a joint secretary in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and Coal Ministry officials.

Sinha's two-page affidavit filed on the direction of the apex court contradicts the claim made by CBI counsel on the last date of hearing that the coalgate scam report was not shared with any member of the government. The government had asserted it did not vet the the probe agency's status report.

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