Even as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Saturday said the news report regarding government’s interference in the coal block allocation scam was “speculative,” the Bharatiya Janata Party accused the Congress-led UPA being a “rogue government” and demanded a thorough probe into the whole episode by a Special Investigation Team (SIT).
The BJP along with its allies has decided to raise the “big issue” in Parliament when it resumes on April 22.
“The reports are speculative…We are yet to file an affidavit before the Supreme Court,” CBI Director Ranjit Sinha told journalists here. Significantly, the apex court has already asked the CBI Director to file an affidavit that the status report submitted by the agency earlier was “vetted by him and not shared with political executives.”
Asked about reports that Union Law Minister Ashwani Kumar had summoned him and his team probing the scam and even “toned down” status report of the case before being filed in the apex court, Mr. Sinha said: “We cannot comment on it and would disclose everything before the Supreme Court only.” The report alleged that the CBI team met the PMO officials who “vetted” the status report regarding alleged irregularities in the allocation of coal blocks during 2006-09 when the exchequer suffered an estimated a loss of Rs.1.86-lakh crore.
However, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley alleged that the Centre was tutoring the CBI not to let the full truth come out. The Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha said: “CBI cannot find out the truth…Even if some honest officer in the CBI tries to find out the truth, the UPA is a rogue government which will not allow it to operate independently. This is now conclusive that the farce of being autonomous and independent which the CBI has attempted to maintain is now completely demolished and dismantled.”
Seeking an SIT probe into the allegations, Mr. Jaitley said: “When Ministers, civil servants and officials try that the Supreme Court should not be acquainted with the full truth, this is an interference in the administration of justice. The government owes an explanation,” he said. He also demanded that the CBI’s “original, unaltered report” be made public.
Similarly, Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said all this was being done to save Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. “Govt. vetted coal scam report…This is a very serious matter. This is the evidence of the government’s pressure on the CBI to save the Prime Minister,” she said on Twitter.
However, the Congress denied that the government interfered in the CBI’s functioning and ruled out resignation of Mr. Ashwani Kumar over the allegations. “There is no question of resignation of Law Minister Ashwani Kumar. Supreme Court has already asked CBI to file an affidavit in this regard. CBI will file its affidavit and truth will come out,” Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said.
“The matter is being investigated under the supervision of the Supreme Court. The BJP should wait and not try to misguide the country and not try to create obstacles in the way of investigations,” Mr. Alvi added.