CBI puts minister in dock over coalgate, Oppn fumes
DISCLOSURE Scam report shared with law minister, says agency in affidavit to SC
NEW DELHI: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said on Friday that the law minister had been given access to a draft copy of its report into the coal blocks allocation scam, prompting furious Opposition calls for his resignation and putting at risk the functioning of Parliament next week.
CBI director Ranjit Sinha submitted a highly unusual affidavit to the Supreme Court saying the agency had shared the draft with minister Ashwani Kumar and officials in the PM’s office and coal ministry — the ministry overseeing the allocations.
The affidavit, which had been demanded by the apex court after a petition alleged government interference in the report, did not say that any changes had been made to the draft.
The CBI is probing alleged irregularities in coal block allocations that the state auditor has estimated benefited companies by a staggering R1.86 lakh crore because the blocks were given away at cheap rates instead of being auctioned.
“The government has been caught with its pants down,” said senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley, head of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, as his colleague Ravi Shankar Prasad reiterated the party’s demand for Kumar’s exit.
Kumar denied any wrongdoing, and his party backed him, rejecting demands for his resignation outright. “I have done no wrong. Truth will prevail,” Kumar said after an emergency meeting of UPA constituents chaired by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
“There is no question of his resignation. He is not going to resign,” said parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath. CONTINUED ON P11