Coalgate: CBI to submit fresh affidavit

Last Updated: Mon, May 06, 2013 08:45 hrs

Adding more woes to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday will admit in the Supreme Court that both Union Law Minister Ashwani Kumar and Attorney General GE Vahanvati asked for alterations in the agency's coal scam investigation report before submitting the drafts to the judges last month.

The CBI is expected to disclose the full extent of Law Minister´s interference in vetting the coal scam report.

In its top executive meeting with lawyer UU Lalit, the CBI has finalised the details of the affidavit, NDTV reported citing unnamed sources.

CBI director Ranjit Sinha is expected to sign the affidavit on Monday and hand it over to the Supreme Court.

However, Law Minister has claimed that the changes he asked for were "suggestions of a minor nature."

NDTV citing sources said the CBI will present an affidavit that will say otherwise.

According to reports, the CBI will accept that the drafts were reviewed by Ashwani Kumar in the presence of GE Vahanvati.

The agency will also reveal that the Law Minister disagreed with a line in the report that read "rules not being followed in coal allocation" and asked for it to be phrased in the "passive voice to dilute its impact". Kumar also said the agency cannot go ahead with such allegations as a finding unless CBI completes a detailed probe.

The channel citing the sources also reported that the Attorney General saw several drafts of the report.

Vahanvati´s name came to the surface after a salvo was fired by Additional Solicitor General Harin Raval who accused the Attorney General, in a letter, of trying to meddle in the coal scam as well as other investigations by the CBI.

In what was seen as an explosive letter by Harin Raval to GE Vahanvati, India´s top legal officials, the former said:"You will also kindly recall that on 6th March, 2013 while I was in court, I received a message from your end, asking me to see the Law Minister at 12.30 pm with the status report. The message received by me was forwarded to the Jt Director, CBI by me. You were also present when I reached slightly late. You would also kindly recall at the said meeting during the course of discussion the draft of only one of the status reports of one of the preliminary enquiry was shown to the Honorable Law Minister and was perused by him as well as by you. Certain suggestions were made, including by you, to the CBI, some of which were accepted. No suggestion emanated from me."

He wrote: "During the course of hearing [Supreme Court] when you are called upon to respond to certain paragraphs of the status report as regards the decision of government and the screening committee in the matter of allocation of coal blocks, you not only exhibited ignorance of facts stated in the status report which you had earlier perused, but had made a statement that what is stated in the status report was not to your knowledge and the same was not shared with the government. In fact, during the course of hearing, I was also called upon to show you those relevant paragraphs from the copy of status report that was made available to me during the course of hearing by the CBI officials instructing me in the matter. The same was shown to you in the court."

The Supreme Court on Apr 30 criticised CBI´s action and said it should be out of the political interference while hearing the case whether CBI report was tampered by the Law Minister and other leaders.

The CBI was put to face tough questions like why didn´t the agency tell the apex court in the first place when the report was shared. Why it had to come out when the SC had asked CBI to come across truly.

The apex court also said the CBI sharing the information with political leaders is not an ordinary matter and has shaken the entire process.

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