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Updated: May 3, 2013 02:23 IST

Ashwani Kumar knocking on all doors to keep his job

Smita Gupta
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Union Law Minister Ashwani Kumar. File photo: M. Vedhan
The Hindu
Union Law Minister Ashwani Kumar. File photo: M. Vedhan

Union Law Minister Ashwani Kumar’s efforts on Wednesday evening to rally government and party spokespersons at a meeting specially convened for the purpose did not evoke the sympathy he had hoped for. Indeed, he found himself grilled by them, with most suggesting that had he made an explanatory statement on the floor of the House, instead of expecting party colleagues to defend him, the session could not have been such a washout. A senior minister even told him that the government’s legislative agenda — topped by the food security Bill and land acquisition Bill — had been totally derailed, and he should have made a statement to set the record straight.

To this, Mr. Kumar apparently said the matter was sub judice, to which another minister riposted that he could have cited parliamentary privilege and made the statement. Annoyed at this, Mr. Kumar told his party colleagues he would do so only if he was asked by the high command, a remark that further angered all those gathered.

If Mr. Kumar, whose fate still hangs in the balance with the Opposition asking for his resignation, wants party colleagues to defend him more vocally, an interview given by Solicitor-General Mohan Parasaran on Thursday to Times Now sought to distance Prime Minister Manmohan Singh from coalgate: Mr. Parasaran told Times Now that the Prime Minister “was not even aware of the meetings,” that he made a clear distinction and stressed “We cannot interfere in matters of investigation.” The PM, the Solicitor-General said, had told him in a lighter vein that thanks to the media hype, people were even being made to believe that he (the PM) was involved in the matter.

CBI Director Ranjit Sinha too simultaneously sought to distance himself from the imbroglio. In an interview to Mail Today, he said, “I believe the outcome of this case may set new standards for the independence for the CBI … If in reality the CBI has to be independent, it requires functional independence and structural changes.” He stressed that he went to meet the Law Minister as they have “day-to-day dealings.” Asked whether the Minister made any changes to the coalgate draft report, he said he would disclose that to the Supreme Court on May 6.

On Wednesday, Mr. Kumar told party colleagues that he had done nothing wrong by meeting the CBI Director on the coalgate affidavit issue, as he believed that they shared a “client-lawyer” relationship. He added that BJP leader Arun Jaitley also met the CBI Director when he was Law Minister. He told them that in this case he did not represent the “political executive” as the agency came under MoS for Personnel V. Narayanasamy.

Mr. Kumar also sought to shift the blame for the presence of the CBI Director, at the meeting in his room, on Attorney-General G.E. Vahanvati: he said that while he had asked the AG to arrange a meeting along with Additional Solicitor-General Harin P Raval to sort out the differences between the two men, it was Mr. Vahanvati who had brought the CBI Director along.

Wednesday’s meeting, called by Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi, was attended by Union Ministers Pawan Bansal, Jairam Ramesh, Jayanthi Natarajan, Manish Tewari and Rajiv Shukla and party spokespersons Sandeep Dikshit, P.C. Chacko, Renuka Chowdhury, Rashid Alvi and Girija Vyas.

Meanwhile, at the official briefing on Thursday, Mr. Dikshit was circumspect. Asked whether the party thought Mr. Kumar had done no wrong, the spokesperson said the Minister consistently maintained that he had done no wrong: the issue was before the court and on Monday the CBI would file its affidavit and let the court decide whether what he had done was right or wrong. “We stand by him till it is proved otherwise,” Mr. Dikshit said, adding, “We have no reason not to believe what he is saying. The issue of blame comes when there is wrongdoing and that is for the Supreme Court to decide. Right now, it is all speculation whether the meeting was called with an ulterior motive and changes were made.”

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These are new type of quid pro quo arrangements of UPA government.

from:  MvjRao
Posted on: May 3, 2013 at 17:28 IST

Politics has become business, of late under this shameless UPA.

from:  MR
Posted on: May 3, 2013 at 15:39 IST

The current UPA government is the only govenment in the history of Independent india which is surviving not because of its good deeds but because peole don't want Modi to be the next Prime Minister.Not only india is witnessing a very weak and not reliable central leadership but the main opposition is equally untrustable.
Will UPA III legalise corruption?

from:  Raju
Posted on: May 3, 2013 at 12:17 IST

Dikshith's observation is strange, to say the least. He says there is
no reason 'not' to believe Ashwini Kumar when he says he has done no
wrong. This is oversimplifying the issue, perhaps deliberately, as if
the people are so gullible as to swallow whatever is dished out by
him. This is not a question of a detective tracing clues and facts.
What is known is clear. Everyone, the PM, the SG, the CBI Director,
has placed the ball in Ashwini's court. The unseemly squabble between
the two top law officers and the subsequent resignation of the Addl S
G has also added its own impact. So why does the Congress have to
defend him? They are simply living in the hope that the 8th May will
not be as hot inside the court as it would be outside in Delhi.

from:  N.S.Rajan
Posted on: May 3, 2013 at 12:01 IST

Salute to India that its supreme court is independent from government.
We need media, executives and judiciary to be independent. It will be
even better if legislators are separate from executive branch, divison
of power is must as absolute power corrupts human beings. Lets make CBI
as independent from executive branch.

from:  Sam S Nath
Posted on: May 3, 2013 at 11:31 IST

Mr. Parasaran told Times Now that the Prime Minister “was not even
aware of the meetings". We have got such a Good prime minister,not aware
of anything surrounding to him!

Posted on: May 3, 2013 at 09:33 IST

If the OFFICIAL SECRETS ACT has not been there, then as a common citizen I would have access to all file notings.The issue could have been met logical outcome instead of speculating on how our PM need to be rescued or recused!

from:  atis
Posted on: May 3, 2013 at 07:10 IST

All are selfish and want to protect themselves against the country and the justice.

from:  hrreddy
Posted on: May 3, 2013 at 06:33 IST

With every other sycophant trying to cover his behind,the Chief Sycophant in the Law Ministry has been left holding the short end of the stick and is trying all his stunts including dishing out the flimsiest of excuses for his faux pas.Whatever he or his bosses may say,the man in the street knows that the CBI is under the stranglehold of the government.And there is no gainsaying that.And there is nothing wrong in the opposition baying for Kumar's blood.As an honorable man (if indeed he is one which is doubtful)he should put in his papers.

from:  Raj Kumar
Posted on: May 3, 2013 at 06:20 IST

Attorney-Client communications are privileged and anything that happened
cannot be disclosed to a court. Say for example, a client confessed to
you that he/she committed a crime cannot be disclosed to court other
than defending him/her in court.."vehemently". Something definitely does not sound right as to why you wanted a meeting with the official who was
asked to provide an affidavit to the Supreme Court. For the public's
understanding, it is called tampering with the investigation.

from:  Krishna S Bala
Posted on: May 3, 2013 at 05:29 IST
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