Expressing strong displeasure at govt’s interference in the Coalgate probe report, according to the apex court said, “the heart of the report was changed on the suggestions of the govt officials.”
“The heart of the report was changed on suggestions of government officials,” the court said in an apparent reference to the raging controversy over the sharing of the draft status report with political executive and joint secretaries in the coal ministry and the PMO.
Raising questions on the independence of CBI, the apex court called it a “caged parrot speaking in its master’s voice”.
The court making a scathing comment on the functioning of the investigating agency said, “It’s a sordid saga that there are many masters and one parrot.”
Asking the govt to make CBI impartial, the apex court said it needs to be ensured that the CBI functions free of all external pressures.
If the CBI is not made independent, we will step in, the SC observed.
“Job of CBI is not to interact with government officials but to interrogate to find the truth,” the SC said. The judges remarked that the CBI must know how to stand up against all pulls and pressures by government and its officials.
Commenting on law minister Ashwani Kumar’s role, the apex court said that a minister can ask for a report but can’t interfere with the CBI probe.
The court questioned how the CBI could have regular interactions with the ministry officials.
Slamming the action of joint secretaries who saw the probe report, the SC said, What business does the two joint secretaries have in visiting the CBI office?
Defending his role, attorney general GE Vahanvati said, “My meeting with CBI officials took place only on suggestions of the law minister.”
I have neither asked nor got CBI’s probe report in coal scam,the attorney general said.
The apex court observations came on CBI director Ranjit Sinha’s second affidavit filed on Monday, stating that law minister Ashwani Kumar and senior officials of the PMO and coal ministry had made changes in the Colagate probe report.
Ranjit Sinha in his nine-page affidavit to SC had given details of series of meetings with Ashwani 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.