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Have we at last arrived at truth?

The CBI affidavit submitted before the Supreme Court of India on Monday claiming the union law minister Ashwani Kumar, along with others in the prime minister’s office and the coal ministry, did indeed tamper with the coal block allocation report, finally makes several things clear. The nine-page affidavit submitted by CBI director Ranjit Sinha plainly states that the PMO and Coal joint secretary ‘removed part of a paragraph on the non-existence of specific weightage points in the system of coal block allocation.’ Further, it also claims that the law minister deleted findings on ‘non-preparation of broadsheets or charts by the screening committee,’ as well as ‘a sentence on finding a scope of inquiry on the legality of the allocation. It is, therefore, obvious that the vehement denials and claims of being innocent by the law minister are utter lies, meant to protect himself as well as others in the government – particularly the political executive including the joint secretaries in the PMO and coal ministry, as well as the Attorney General GE Vahanvati and his former deputy Harin Raval, who put in his papers few days back in the wake of the revelations on the Coalgate-CBI nexus. That the CBI affidavit sharply differs from the erstwhile assertions that no tweaking of the draft report had been done is a slap on the face of the UPA government and its executive, which is reeling under the torrent of expositions that demonstrate how deep it is sunk in the cesspool of rank corruption, rampant nepotism and a general matrix of multiplying deceit, wherein hundred lies are spewed to cover hundred others.

However, the CBI director’s affidavit also comes as a relief to many who have been left perplexed by the web of fabrications and false contentions spread by all and sundry, and in which, even the country’s top probing agency, the CBI, had been trapped until it received, justifiably enough, a stinging rap from the apex court. The CBI chief’s unconditional apology to the court for any ‘inadvertent’ omission or commission, though belated, is also welcome. However, several questions still remain unanswered and the SC hearing on 8 May would need to delve into the gaping holes in the probe report. Although the affidavit says that no names of suspect or accused were let off in the process, and that the tenor or the thematic bent of the draft had not been altered, the fact that crucial paragraphs were deleted which could have shown the prime minister in a poor light begs explanation. Although the law ministry is trying to put up a defence saying that it was merely proving legal assistance to the CBI, whose autonomy had been under the scanner for obvious reasons, it is still not clear at whose behest were the said officials acting in the first place? What made Ranjit Sinha come out with the ‘confession’ and submit the affidavit, contradicting the erstwhile sweeping denials by the concerned ministries as well the probing body? Are we really that naïve to not see that there remains still uncovered a deeper and extensive layer of larceny that has the potential to wreak havoc on the very foundations of the system?   
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