Besides accepting that Law Minister Ashwani Kumar and two senior bureaucrats had perused and made changes to the status report on investigations into the coal block allocation scandal, the CBI has also reportedly told the apex court exactly what changes were made in the original report.
Along with its second status report on investigations in the case, the CBI has given a detailed listing of every change made by the Law Minister and the two bureaucrats to the original status report and has submitted copies of the original status report and the final one submitted to the court, The Indian Express reported today.
"If you look at the two drafts, maybe 15-20 per cent changes were effected at the behest of the minister and the bureaucrats," an unnamed law officer is quoted as saying in the report.
The second status report along with the modified first status report of the CBI was submitted in a sealed envelope and its contents have not been opened by the court yet.
While the Law Minister has been quoted as saying in some reports that the only changes made were grammatical ones, the Supreme Court will finally take a call on whether the minister only changed content for language correction or whether he is guilty of making significant amendments.
In an affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court, CBI director Ranjit Sinha had admitted that the original status report had been shown to the Law Minister Ashwani Kumar and two Joint Secretary level officials before it was submitted to the court.
"I submit that the draft of the same (report) was shared with Hon’ble Union Minister for Law and Justice as desired by him prior to its submission before this Hon’ble Court.
Besides the political executive, it was also shared with one Joint Secretary-level officer each of Prime Minister’s Office and Ministry of Coal as desired by them," Sinha said in his affidavit before the apex court.
The affidavit has been the cause of a logjam in Parliament with the Opposition seeking the resignation of the Law Minister and the Prime Minister. However, while Congress president Sonia Gandhi ruled out the Prime Minister resigning over the issue, Law Minister is also unlikely to lose his post.
However, while they may be able to hold off the Opposition for now, what will be interesting to note are what the Supreme Court will note when it hears the case again tomorrow. As former CBI director RK Raghavan noted on Firstpost, it could be a watershed for the investigating agency that has long been accused of merely serving political masters.
Updated Date: Apr 29, 2013 10:23 AM