n18
NEWS|Current Affairs 
   |
Photo: PTI

The ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was on the backfoot on Monday after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed its second affidavit on the coal scam probe in the Supreme Court, stating that Law Minister Ashwani Kumar, Attorney General GE Vahanvati and officials from the PMO and the Coal Ministry had seen the report and suggested changes to it.

The revelations came as huge embarrassment to the UPA which is already battling grave corruption allegations. The opposition sought the scalp of the Law Minister Ashwani Kumar and targeted the UPA over the latest scam to the hit the government, the Railway Board bribery scandal. The opposition forced adjournment in Parliament over the two issues.

The Congress even faced attack from allies like the Samajwadi Party that sought the removal of Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal whose nephew was arrested by the CBI over bribery charges. The BJP workers held a massive protest outside his residence later on Monday, demanding his removal.

Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj threatened that Parliament will not be allowed to function until the two were removed. She accused the government of diverting attention from scams by passing bills. "Bills should not be passed when Parliament is not functioning properly. Parliament will only function when both the accused ministers (Ashwani Kumar, Pawan Kumar Bansal) resign. The resignation of ministers is a must. No bill should be passed in chaos, and we will not let any bill pass in chaos," she said.

Meanwhile, BJP leader Arun Jaitley alleged that Bansal was the main beneficiary in the Railway bribery scandal. He demanded the resignations of the PM, the Railway Minister and the Law Minister over the two cases.

On Monday, the CBI, in a nine-page affidavit, admitted to the Supreme Court that two changes were made to its probe report on coal allocations, once at the instance of the Law Minister and the other at the instance of the PMO and the Coal Ministry.

The CBI said that its draft report was seen by Law Minister Ashwani Kumar, Joint Secretary in the PMO, Shatrughan Singh and officials in the Coal Ministry.

The affidavit, however, added that both changes were minor and technical in nature. No names of suspects or accused were removed from the status report and no suspect or accused was let off, it stated.

The report was also seen by Attorney General GE Vahanvati, who recommended changes, and the Additional Solicitor General, the affidavit said. A series of three meetings were held - between the CBI and government officials at Vahanvati's office, the Law Minister's office and at the CBI headquarters.

In its defence, the CBI stated that the agency's manual is silent on whether a status report can be shared or not.

Anti-corruption activist and Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan said, "There were at least three different sets of meetings which took place between the CBI and various officials from the government to make changes in the report. One meeting was in the Law Minister's office. Another meeting was in the Attorney General's office and the third meeting was in the CBI headquarters. It shows that gross contempt of court has been committed."

Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal was defensive. "I have not given any report. If the CBI has given any name regarding this then go and ask them. I won't comment anything regarding the CBI and the court."

Congress leader and I&B Minister Manish Tewari said, "In a matter that is subjudice, we believe in conveying through our law officers in court."

Tag : #Prime Minister #UPA Government #Railway Minister #Coal scam #Pawan Kumar Bansal #corruption charges #Ashwani Kumar #nephew #Law Minister #Manmohan Singh

Islamic State video purports to show beheading of US journalist Steven Sotloff

from firstpost

Islamic State video purports to show beheading of US journalist Steven Sotloff

Beirut: Islamic State extremists released a video Tuesday purportedly showing the beheading of a second American journalist, Steven Sotloff, and warning President Barack Obama that as long as US airst...


Saudi Arabia says it arrests 88 for preparing "terrorist" raids

from firstpost

Saudi Arabia says it arrests 88 for preparing "terrorist" raids

RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia has detained 88 people, more than half of them Saudis, on suspicion of plotting "terrorist" attacks at home and abroad, the interior ministry said on Tuesday....

Ukraine rebels say they are poised to recapture Donetsk airport

from firstpost

Ukraine rebels say they are poised to recapture Donetsk airport

BRUSSELS/DONETSK Ukraine (Reuters) - EU officials proposed sanctions on Tuesday to starve Russian firms of cash as punishment for Moscow's role in Ukraine, where rebels said they were storming Donetsk...

EU proposes tough sanctions on Moscow as Ukraine rebels advance

from firstpost

EU proposes tough sanctions on Moscow as Ukraine rebels advance

BRUSSELS/KIEV (Reuters) - European officials proposed sweeping new sanctions on Tuesday to starve Russia's companies of capital and technology as punishment for Moscow's intervention in Ukraine, where...

Islamic State group may have beheaded another US journalist

from firstpost

Islamic State group may have beheaded another US journalist

Beirut: An Internet video purports to show the beheading of US journalist Steven Sotloff by the Islamic State group.Sotloff, who freelanced for Time and Foreign Policy magazines, had last been seen in...

Madras HC exempts Nithyananda personal appearance in court

from firstpost

Madras HC exempts Nithyananda personal appearance in court

Chennai: The Madras High Court today exempted self-styled godman Nithyananda from a personal appearance before a court in Coimbatore.Justice KBK Vasuki, who passed the order on a petition filed by Nit...

Pakistan should improve internal situation, says Omar Abdullah

from firstpost

Pakistan should improve internal situation, says Omar Abdullah

Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today hit out at Pakistan saying it should try toimprove its internal situation rather than resort to firing and shelling villages here."Thei...