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

Nine months on, Philippines plans $3.9-billion effort to relocate typhoon Haiyan victims Haiyan victims

from firstpost

Nine months on, Philippines plans $3.9-billion effort to relocate typhoon Haiyan victims Haiyan victims

MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippines will spend 170 billion pesos ($3.89 billion) to rehouse some 200,000 families displaced by last year's super typhoon Haiyan that killed 6,100 people, the government ...


Iraqi foreign minister blames Maliki for Islamist insurgency

from firstpost

Iraqi foreign minister blames Maliki for Islamist insurgency

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and his security officials are to blame for the rise of Sunni Muslim insurgents who have seized parts of Iraq, the country's foreign minister said.The...

Gaza truce over, Israel soldier captured, 70 dead in Rafah shelling

from firstpost

Gaza truce over, Israel soldier captured, 70 dead in Rafah shelling

GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel declared a Gaza ceasefire over on Friday, saying Hamas militants breached the truce soon after it took effect and apparently captured an Israeli officer while killing...

Nine more killed after week of violence in China's Xinjiang

from firstpost

Nine more killed after week of violence in China's Xinjiang

BEIJING (Reuters) - Nine militants were shot dead and one captured in China's restive far western region of Xinjiang on Friday, state media said, the latest bout of violence in a week in which dozens ...

Ugandan court overturns anti-gay law that halted Western aid

from firstpost

Ugandan court overturns anti-gay law that halted Western aid

KAMPALA (Reuters) - Uganda's constitutional court on Friday overturned an anti-homosexuality law that punished gay sex with long prison sentences and which drew stern criticism from Western and other ...

For Gaza residents, ceasefire proves only a brief respite

from firstpost

For Gaza residents, ceasefire proves only a brief respite

SHEJAIA Gaza Strip (Reuters) - Gaza's agreed three-day ceasefire lasted only 90 minutes but for one Palestinian woman that was time enough to return to the street where she lives and find her home was...

Experts recover human remains at Ukraine crash site despite new fighting

from firstpost

Experts recover human remains at Ukraine crash site despite new fighting

KIEV (Reuters) - International experts found the remains of more victims of the downed Malaysian airliner in east Ukraine on Friday but fighting nearby between government forces and pro-Russian rebels...