The CPI MP lays out a chargesheet-like letter on AG's role in coalgate

Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati, who has been involved in a series of controversies, is in for fresh trouble for his role in the coalgate scam, with Member of Parliament, Gurudas Dasgupta, laying out detailed grounds for his dismissal to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in a letter that resembles a chargesheet.

Despite the full support of the PM, former Law Minister Ashwani Kumar was eventually forced to resign under pressure from the media and the Opposition following revelations that he had vetted the CBI's status report on the coal blocks allocation case before it was submitted to the Supreme Court.

Mr. Dasgupta now alleges that Mr. Vahanvati is not only “guilty of the same crime that Mr. Ashwani Kumar had committed” but that “in case of the Attorney-General the character of the crime is much graver because of his constitutional position”.

Mr. Dasgupta says that it was Mr. Vahanvati who advised Mr. Kumar when the minister called him to inquire about the CBI status report.

Mr. Vahanvati had suggested to Mr. Kumar that a meeting might be called and Mr. Harin P. Raval, the CBI counsel, may be asked to be present. He had also suggested Mr. Raval could summon the CBI investigating officers to the same meeting, and indicated that the Joint Secretary from the Ministry of Coal and Prime Minister’s Office should be present in the meeting. “It is clear, therefore, the whole project plan for developing the mechanism to make available the CBI status report to the government was done by Mr. Vahanvati”.

Not sparing the PMO either, Mr. Dasgupta writes: “The Government was able to know in this way the report the CBI had prepared. It is here that the changes in the report were suggested and made. What is more intriguing is that the officials of the PMO requested deletion or rewriting of some of the sentences of the report to exonerate PMO of any responsibility in this regard.”

Directly attacking the Attorney General, Mr. Dasgupta says: “It is reported on the same day that the Minister of Law had taken the meeting in his office, another meeting took place in the residence of Mr. Vahanvati where CBI officials were present. Mr. Vahanvati himself after going through the status reports pertaining to the allocation made during 1993 to 2005 suggested crucial changes. A third meeting is reported to have taken place on the same day where the report was finally prepared and subsequently approved by Mr. Ranjit Sinha, the CBI Director.”

“He acted with an ulterior motive”

Pulling together the threads of the various meetings and exchanges, Mr. Dasgupta accuses the Attorney General of having acted “with an ulterior motive”. He states, “Therefore, from the sequence of events it is clear that the topmost law officer of the government, the Attorney-General of the country, who is supposed to advise the government how to work within the parameters of the law and constitution, had actually acted with an ulterior motive brazenly against his constitutional mandate and duty and helped the Minister and officers of CBI to change the report to the Supreme Court suppressing the facts as revealed during the inquiry.”

“On 30th April when the Supreme Court censured the government for breach of trust, Mr. Vahanvati continued to insist that he had not seen the report whereby he made himself unfaithful to his constitutional mandate and had, in fact, sought to mislead the highest forum of the judiciary of the country,” Mr. Dasgupta concludes.

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