UPA rogue govt, says BJP, seeks SIT probe in coal blocks row

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  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    UPA rogue govt, says BJP, seeks SIT probe in coal blocks row


    Calling the UPA a "rogue" government which will not allow the CBI to function independently, the BJP on Saturday demanded a probe by a special investigation team (SIT) into the alleged irregularities in the allocation of coal blocks.

    The BJP was reacting to The Indian Express report on Saturday that Law Minister Ashwani Kumar and the Prime Minister's Office had vetted the CBI's status report on the coal blocks row submitted to the Supreme Court last month, and the agency is inclined to inform the apex court about it.

    Meanwhile, Kumar today held a meeting with Attorney General Goolam E Vahanvati at his Shastri Bhawan office to discuss the issue. While there was no official communication about the meeting, sources said the minister sought the AG's advice on the matter.

    There were indications that the government may not field its law officers, including the AG, to represent the CBI when the matter is heard later this month by the Supreme Court bench headed by Justice R M Lodha. A senior advocate may be asked to settle the affidavit that the CBI director has to submit to the court. The court has asked the director to state in his affidavit that the CBI report submitted in a sealed cover on March 8 "was vetted by him and nothing contained therein has been shared with the political executive...''

    PTI quoted CBI director Ranjit Singh as saying today's report was "speculative". "We are yet to file an affidavit before the Supreme Court," he said, while refusing to comment on his meeting with the Law Minister at which they reportedly discussed changes to the status report.

    But Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said the "CBI's image of an independent agency is now completely demolished and dismantled. CBI cannot go to the root of the matter and find the truth, and even if some honest officer tries to find the truth, the UPA is a rogue government which will not allow it to act independently. Therefore the system will have to seriously consider whether an SIT must take over the administration and investigation of the coal scam."

    UPA rogue govt, says BJP, seeks SIT probe in coal blocks rowExpress news service : New Delhi, Sat Apr 13 2013, 22:22 hrs
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    Terming it as a "very serious matter", Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj tweeted: "This is the evidence of the government's pressure on CBI to save the Prime Minister."

    JD(U) spokesperson Shivanand Tiwari also termed the report as "very serious", saying it amounted to contempt of court. "Supreme Court is asking CBI to submit its report and government is toning it down. This is for the first time to my knowledge that such a thing is happening," he said.

    The Congress, however, sought to dismiss the allegations. "There is no question of the Law Minister resigning. The Supreme Court has already asked CBI to file an affidavit in this regard. The CBI will file its affidavit and the truth will come out. The matter is being investigated under the supervision of the Supreme Court. The BJP should wait and not try to misguide the country and create obstacles in the way of investigations," said Congress spokesman Rashid Alvi.

    "Officers sometimes meet ministers, but it is not necessary that ministers put pressure on them. The BJP is in the habit of criticising the government unnecessarily. If the government orders a CBI inquiry, they demand a JPC. If the government constitutes a JPC, then they create problems for the JPC," he added.

    Jaitley said the fact that the interference was being done at the level of a minister and PMO officials raised serious questions. "The UPA is interested in diluting the guilt of culprits. What dilutions are to be made in the report was the agenda of this meeting," he said.

    "In a case related to autonomy and independence of CBI, the Supreme Court had categorically said, quoting from an English principle, that no minister of government can interfere and tell the CBI what to do and what not to do, and that is now completely violated," said Jaitley. "The government owes an explanation... The original unaltered report of the CBI must be made public and also placed before the SC," he added.

    The Left parties said they would take up the issue in parliament. "It is a grave matter. If it is true, then it is something which is completely unacceptable. The CBI inquiry is being done under the supervision of the Supreme Court, hence such efforts are not permissible... We will definitely take up this matter (in parliament) and the government must answer the charge," said senior CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury.

    "This is a very serious matter. This shows how the ruling party interferes in the work of the CBI. This is a classic case of interference in the functioning of the CBI which is supposed to work independently and impartially. This shows the government and the ruling party can misuse the CBI, an issue which is often raised in parliament," said senior CPI leader D Raja.

    "It shows the ruling party is trying to influence the CBI. That a cabinet minister and PMO officials are reported to be involved makes it more serious. The Prime Minister owes an explanation to the country and Parliament," he added.

    UPA rogue govt, says BJP, seeks SIT probe in coal blocks row - Indian Express
     
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  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    No interference in CBI's report on Coal scam: Congress

    Law minister Ashwini Kumar's reaction came close on the heels of BJP leader Arun Jaitley's demand for a SIT probe in the wake of reports of alleged interference in the preparation of CBI report in the coal scam.

    Congress on Saturday rejected the charge of interference in the preparation of CBI report in the coal scam for the Supreme Court and ruled out resignation of Law Minister Ashwani Kumar in this regard.

    "There is no question of resignation of Law Minister Ashwani Kumar. Supreme Court has already asked CBI to file an affidavit in this regard. CBI will file its affidavit and truth will come out".

    "The matter is being investigated under the supervision of the Supreme Court. BJP should wait and not try to misguide the country and not try to create obstacles in the way of investigations", party spokesman Rashid Alvi said.

    His reaction came close on the heels of BJP leader Arun Jaitley's demand for constitution of a special investigation team in the wake of reports of alleged interference in the preparation of CBI report in the coal scam.

    The Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha also accused the UPA of being a "rogue government" that will not allow CBI to function independently.

    On the media report that the CBI probe status report had been "vetted" by the Law Minister and the Prime Minister's Office, he said,"That this should be done at the level of the Minister and the officials of the PMO itself raises serious questions."

    "CBI cannot find out the truth and even if some honest officer in the CBI tries to find out the truth, the UPA is a rogue government which will not allow it to operate independently," Jaitley said.

    His Lok Sabha counterpart, Sushma Swaraj, criticised the government for "vetting" of the CBI report and said it is part of "an attempt to save Prime Minister Manmohan Singh".

    Making light of the opposition charges, Alvi said he was not aware of the CBI officers meeting the Minister.

    "Officers sometimes meet the Ministers, but it is not necessary that Ministers put pressure on them", he said.

    "BJP is in the habit of criticising government unnecessarily. If Government orders a CBI inquiry, they demand a JPC. If government constitutes a JPC, then they create problems for the JPC," he added.

    No interference in CBI's report on Coal scam: Congress - India - DNA
     
  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Where does the truth lie?

    Is it par for the course for the Law Minister to meet officials and vet reports?

    "Officers sometimes meet the Ministers, but it is not necessary that Ministers put pressure on them", said Alvi in his usual effeminate way.( Note English language interpretation and no gender slur}.

    Ministers meets officials not to put pressure, but have lollipops and popcorn. right?

    Like a break in the South Block Canteen?
     
  5. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    CBI coal scam report: Govt role under scanner as NGO moves Supreme Court

    An NGO on Monday moved the Supreme Court seeking a probe by a special investigation team (SIT) into government interference in the CBI probe into the coal block allocation scam, which was first reported by The Indian Express.
    In its interim application, NGO Common Cause submitted that the alleged 'blatant interference' by the government is not only unlawful and a criminal offence, it amounts to contempt of court and the same has to be probed by a special investigative team (SIT).

    Express Exclusive:Govt vetted coal scam report, CBI will tell Supreme Court

    It alleged that the CBI was not fit to probe the scam, as the agency at the instance of the government has 'changed and diluted' a status report which it was to file before the apex court.

    It also been alleged that law officers of the government attempted to mislead the court by stating that they had not seen the status report, when the same had been shown to them by the CBI.

    The NGO also submitted that the CBI officer who was supervising the investigation and who had filed its affidavit was replaced during the course of the probe.

    It suggested that appointing a retired judge to head the SIT would help the court to monitor the case and add to the

    credibility of the probe by insulating it from political and corporate influences.

    Earlier, advocate M L Sharma on whose petition the CBI probe was ordered into the alleged irregularities in the coal

    block allocation, mentioned before a bench headed by Justice R M Lodha the issue of reported interference of government in the probe.

    The bench said since the matter is listed for hearing on April 30 there was no need of any indulgence by the court at

    the moment. It gave him liberty to file an application on the issue which could be taken up for hearing on the scheduled date of hearing.

    Common Cause, which filed the application through advocate Prashant Bhushan, cited the example of appointment of retired apex court judge Justice B N Agarwal in the Sahara case to supervise refund of investors' money as well as actions taken by market regulator SEBI to enforce the court's directions.

    In its interim application, the NGO alleged that while CBI had told the apex court that its status report was not shown to anyone. "The report had been seen by the Government before it was filed in this Court, the same had been vetted and its observations had been diluted by the CBI at the instance of the Government," it alleged.

    A PIL filed by the NGO and various members of civil society including former CEC N Gopalaswami, ex-Navy chief L Ramdas and former Cabinet Secretary T S R Subramanian and advocate M L Sharma seeking a SIT probe into the scam.

    CBI in its status report, filed on March 8, had said the coal block allocation during 2006-09 was done without verifying the credentials of companies which allegedly misrepresented facts about themselves.

    On March 12, the apex court had directed the CBI Director to file an affidavit that the status report submitted by the agency on March 8 was "vetted by him and not shared with political executives" and the same will be followed in future.

    The apex court had also indicated that entire allocation might be cancelled if no legal procedure was followed and directed the government to explain why a small group of companies have been "picked and chosen" for allocation of coal blocks out of a large number of companies that applied for it.

    The agency had also placed before the apex court a list of the companies and their directors against whom FIR has so far been lodged.

    The agency had said it was not revealing all information of its probe in order to "preserve confidentiality and integrity of the inquiry".

    The report was filed in response to an apex court order which had directed it to file a comprehensive reply on alleged irregularities in coal blocks allocation.

    CBI coal scam report: Govt role under scanner as NGO moves Supreme Court - Indian Express
     
  6. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    CBI report on coal scam was altered after review by Law Minister, PMO officials: report

    The Director of the CBI Ranjit Sinha today did not deny allegations that a report on the agency's coal investigation may have been altered or vetted by the Law Minister Ashwini Kumar and senior officials in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

    Sources close to the Prime Minister's Office refused to comment on the allegations made by national daily Indian Express, calling the matter "subjudice."

    This afternoon, the Law Minister met the minister in charge of the CBI, V Narayanasamy, but neither commented on the charges.


    CBI's coal report was vetted by Law Minister, PMO: report

    The Supreme Court had asked the CBI chief last month to state in writing that the agency's status report had not been reviewed by "the political executive" before it was shared with judges.

    The CBI told the Supreme Court that private firms had misrepresented information to win coal licenses and that the government had not verified their credentials. The scandal is damaging for the Prime Minister because for some of the years under review, he was in direct charge of the Coal Ministry.

    The Opposition has said that the controversy exposes what it has always alleged - that the CBI is influenced by the government and that it's putative independence is a farce. (Government trying to use CBI to save PM, says Sushma Swaraj)

    "This is evidence of the government's pressure on the CBI to save the Prime Minister," BJP's Sushma Swaraj tweeted. (Reactions: Who said what)

    The government was first hit by allegations of "Coal-Gate" scandal when its auditor said in March 2012 that the country lost Rs. 1.86 lakh crores because coal fields were allocated without a transparent bidding process.


    CBI report on coal scam was altered after review by Law Minister, PMO officials: report | NDTV.com
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2013
  7. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Maybe Anna Hazare and group are right that the CBI should be made an independent body and beyond the clutches of the Govt.

    That will ensure the the Govt does not steal hands over fist and then fudge reports and be smug as a cat who has drunk a stolen platter of milk!
     
    arnabmit likes this.
  8. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Did government tone down CBI's coal report?

    The Director of the CBI Ranjit Sinha today did not deny allegations that a report on the agency's coal investigation may have been altered or vetted by the Law Minister Ashwini Kumar and senior officials in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO). Sources close to the Prime Minister's Office refused to comment on the allegations made by national daily Indian Express, calling the matter "subjudice."

    Did government tone down CBI's coal report? Video: NDTV.com
     

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