CBI affidavit puts PMO in spot, critical para changed

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New Delhi, May 6: The CBI director Ranjit Sinha on Monday put the government in a spot by admitting in the Supreme Court that a paragraph critical of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) was changed from the coal scam draft report.

In a 9-page fresh affidavit on the coal scam, Sinha says that some lines were deleted at the behest of the PMO and Law Minister Ashwani Kumar.

Ashwani Kumar, Attorney General Goolam E Vahanvati, a Joint Secretary rank official from the Prime Minister's Office and the Coal Ministry saw the draft status report on the coal scam case and ordered some changes.

The affidavit gives details of the March 6 meeting that took place with the law minister, the attorney general, Joint Secretary in the PMO Shatrughna Singh, AK Bhalla of the Coal Ministry and Joint Director of the CBI OP Galhotra. Former Additional Solicitor General Harin Raval was also present in the meeting, said CBI. The affidavit says three meetings were held between the CBI and government officials at the A-G's office, the Law Minister's office and at the CBI headquarters.

The apex court was told that consequent changes in the report neither altered its central theme nor shifted the focus of inquiries in any manner. No names of suspects or accused were removed from the status report and no suspect or accused was let off, the CBI said in its affidavit.

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