CBI puts min­is­ter in dock over coal­gate, Oppn fumes

DIS­CLO­SURE Scam re­port shared with law min­is­ter, says agency in af­fi­davit to SC

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE -

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

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