CBI admits showing coal probe report to minister, officials

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New Delhi, April 26: More than the telecom scam, the coal scam is shaking the government with the CBI Director Ranjit Sinha today submitting before the Supreme Court that the agency's report of March 8 (presented to the court) on coal allocation scam was "shared" with Law Minister Ashwani Kumar "as desired by him" and that senior officials of PMO and Coal ministry had also seen it.

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The Supreme Court had asked the CBI whether it had shared the report with the government and had also ordered the CBI not to share its probe report with the government after the CBI had told the court in its March report that many companies were given coal blocks through false representations and that there was no rationale for allocation of the blocks.

However, Sinha in his today's affidavit has not stated clearly whether the government officials asked for changes, or whether these were made.

He also said that "I confirm that the present status report being filed in this court has not been shared with any political executive in any manner whatsoever. "In respect of further status reports of the investigation and inquiry required to be filed in this matter before this court, I undertake and assure this court that the same shall not be shared with any political executive," the affidavit said.

As soon as the affidavit became public, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called the UPA leaders for an urgent meeting even as the Parliament remained paralysed for the fifth day day today.

The CBI Director's coal bomb had a ripple effect, reaching the Prime Minister's Office, which is also trying to stem off accusations of former telecom minister A Raja.

The affidavit triggered a political storm with the Opposition saying the Law Minister's continuance in office has become untenable and demanded his resignation. On his part, Kumar said, "Truth will prevail".

The Congress said today that the Law Minister will not resign. Senior party leader Kamal Nath said it's important to see what action the Supreme Court recommends on the 30th of this month at the next hearing.

Meanwhile, Ranjit Singh's reported visit to Minister of State for Personnel V. Narayanasamy's residence a day before the agency filed the affidavit has also kicked up a political storm.

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has accused the government of trying to meddle in the affairs of the CBI.
"The way Congress has used, abused and misused the CBI for its own purpose is a real threat to (India's) democracy. That is why we are raising the issue," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar told reporters on Friday.

Communist Party of India leader Gurudas Dasgupta said: "There is nothing surprising in the meeting. The Congress has used CBI time and again."

The ministry of personnel, public grievances and pensions is the administrative ministry in-charge of the CBI, and is headed by the prime minister.

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