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Coalgate: BJP wants law minister to quit

Coalgate: BJP wants law minister to quit
Though the CBI on Sunday termed as reports – about alleged political interference in the agency’s probe into the coal blocs allocation scam – as ‘speculative’, the matter is set to embarrass the government especially when Parliament reassembles after a month-long recess.

The government came under fire from opposition parties in the wake of reports that Union Law Minister Ashwani Kumar had summoned CBI chief and the agency’s status report on the probe in coal scam was changed after the meeting.

‘The reports are speculative. We are yet to file an affidavit before the Supreme Court,’ CBI director Ranjit Sinha said on Sunday when asked about his reaction.

Questioned about the alleged meetings with the Law Minister and PMO officials, he said: ‘We cannot comment on it and would disclose everything before the Supreme Court only.’

The CBI had filed a status report on its probe in alleged irregularities in allocation of coal mines before the Supreme Court on 8 March, where it had claimed coal block allocation during 2006-09 was done without verifying the credentials of companies which allegedly misrepresented facts about themselves.

During the hearing, the court had also asked the CBI director to file an affidavit that the status report submitted by the agency was ‘vetted by him and not shared with political executives’ and the same will be followed in future. It has been alleged in a newspaper report that the status report was ‘toned down’ after a separate meeting of CBI director Ranjit Sinha with Ashwani Kumar and PMO officials.

Meanwhil, the BJP on Sunday demanded Ashwini Kumar’s resignation over allegations of interference in CBI’s probe, while the Left pressed the government to come out with the truth in the matter.

‘Ashwini Kumar, who as a minister tried to interfere in the dispensation of justice and also interfered in the course of investigation, must wither resign or should be sacked by the Prime Minister,’ party leader Balbir Punj said. He demanded that an SIT be constituted directly under the Supreme Court to investigate the ‘massive scam where the needle of suspicion points out even to PM’.
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