The crucial hearing on Coalgate will take place today (May 8) in the Supreme Court which may pose some tough questions to the Centre following the CBI Director’s affidavit that the Law Minister and senior officials of the PMO and Coal Ministry had made significant changes in the probe report.
Law Minister Ashwani Kumar, who is under attack from the opposition which is demanding his resignation over the issue, could find himself on a more sticky wicket if adverse remarks are made against him by the apex court.
Attorney General G E Vahanvati may find it difficult to justify his earlier claim made in the apex court that he was not aware about the contents of the status report, a statement belied by the CBI Director Ranjit Sinha’s nine-page affidavit saying that AG had glanced through the report and changes were made in it on his suggestion.
A three judge bench headed by Justice R M Lodha, which had pulled up the CBI for keeping it in the dark about the sharing of status report with government, will go through a second affidavit filed by Sinha giving details of the changes made and at whose instance these were done.
Sinha in his affidavit said that the minister made “certain changes” in the agency’s draft probe report on Coalgate and gave details of series of meetings with Kumar, Vahanvati, Additional Solicitor General Haren Raval and Shatrughna Singh and A K Bhalla, joint secretaries of the PMO and the Coal Ministry during which changes in the probe reports were suggested and made by them.
The CBI version contradicts reports of Kumar’s account that he was not involved in drafting the changes.