Ashwani Kumar changed scope of coal enquiry: CBI

Affidavit details meetings among CBI officials and officials in PMO and law ministry, which discussed changes in status report

May 06, 2013 12:41 pm | Updated November 16, 2021 08:29 pm IST - New Delhi:

Ashwani Kumar

Ashwani Kumar

CBI Director Ranjit Sinha on Monday told Supreme Court that Law Minister Ashwani Kumar made changes in the agency’s draft status report (DSR) on the coal scam case. Mr. Kumar, he said, deleted a sentence that included the legality of coal allocations in the scope of the CBI’s enquiry.

The case comes up for further hearing on Wednesday before a three-judge Bench headed by Justice R. M. Lodha.

In a fresh affidavit, Mr. Sinha claimed that the Minister only saw the DSR on the preliminary enquiry (PE2 that dealt with allocations between 2006 and 2OO9). Mr. Kumar deleted from the draft report a finding about the screening committee not preparing any chart about the coal block applicants and a sentence about the “scope of enquiry with respect to legality of allocations while amendments in law were in process.”

The nine-page affidavit gave details of the meetings which took place among the CBI officials, the Law Minister, the Attorney-General, the then Additional Solicitor General, Harin Raval, and officials of PMO and the Coal Ministry. Mr. Sinha’s submission contradicts the stand taken by the Minister and the AG, who had refuted the allegation that they had suggested changes in the draft report.

It also said “the tentative finding about the non-existence of a system regarding allocation of specific weightage/points was deleted at the instance of the officials of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the Ministry of Coal.” Also, at the instance of the officials of the PMO and Ministry of coal, a sentence describing the non-availability of approved guidelines for coal block allocation was included in the final status report pertaining to PE4.

Attorney General G. E. Vahanvati too asked for changes.

The CBI Director submitted in a sealed cover the changes made in the DSRs but said “it is difficult at this stage to attribute each change to a particular person with certainty.” It said that most of the changes were done to refine the reports in consultation with Mr. Harin Raval, the then Additional Solicitor General who resigned recently. On Mr. Raval’s submission in the court on March 12 that “the status report dated March 8 has not been shared with anyone and it is meant only for the court,” the affidavit said the submission was not made as per CBI instructions and the ASG had made the statement on his own.

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