Coalgate: PM close aide Law Minister Ashwani Kumar resigns

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Bansal and Ashwani Kumar
New Delhi, May 10: Putting an end to all speculations, Union Law Minister Ashwani Kumar resigned on Friday, May 10. Kumar, who is believed to be a close aide of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, was accused of interfering in CBI investigation in Coalgate scam.

After a meeting with Manmohan Singh at his residence, Ashwani Kumar said he resigned to end "unnecessary controversy" and "public perception of any wrongdoing".

Kumar allegedly had tried to shield PM from facing corruption allegations in coal scam. He came under attack for vetting a report of CBI on coal block allocation. The portfolio of coal was under the charge of the Prime Minister.

Ashwani Kumar was believed to be close to PM, a factor which is said to have played a role in the delay and dilly-dallying over his exit from the Union Cabinet after the controversy broke out over his meeting with the CBI Director and making changes in the the agency's draft probe report on Coalgate.

Ashwani Kumar resigned just hours after Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal's exit from the cabinet. The MP from Chandigarh stepped down from his post following railway bribery scam allegations.

It was reported that UPA Chairperson and Congress President Sonia Gandhi pressurised PM to ask both Bansal and Kumar to resign. The Central government has been facing tremendous criticism over several corruption allegations and scams. Now it has started taking steps to re-build the party's image ahead of crucial Lok Sabha election which is expected to be held in 2014.

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