New Delhi: Sushma Swaraj, the senior BJP leader and Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, on Saturday accused the UPA government of pressurising the CBI to save Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the coal blocks allocation scam.
Writing on Twitter, Sushma posted: "This is a very serious matter. This is the evidence of Government`s pressure on CBI to save the PrimeMinister (sic)."
The BJP leader was reacting to a report in a leading English daily which today claimed that Law Minister Ashwani Kumar and officials of the Prime Minister`s Office had vetted the CBI`s controversial probe status report submitted before the Supreme Court last month.
Another senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley demanded an SIT probe into the coal scam, saying, "UPA is a rogue government which will not allow CBI to operate independently."
CBI director Ranjit Sinha, meanwhile, told Zee News over phone that he "cannot comment on this report".
In an official statement, the CBI said "we will abide by court`s orders" in this case.
The newspaper reported that the Law Minister had summoned top CBI officials, including director Ranjit Sinha, ahead of the filing of the status report.
At the meeting attended by the Law Minister and his subordinates, it was suggested to the CBI to tone down the report and make several amendments. Some of these were eventually incorporated by the CBI.
The agency is now preparing to tell the apex court that it was pressurised to amend the status report, the daily said quoting CBI sources.
According to sources, a similar meeting was called by PMO officials where they also vetted the status report.
The CBI had in its report, submitted before the SC on March 08, pointed out irregularities in coal blocks allotment made during 2006-09. It further stated that allotments were made without establishing the credentials of companies which had misrepresented facts about themselves.
The government on its part debunked CBI`s findings in the SC on March 12. Attorney General GE Vahanvati had told the court that the CBI`s could not be the "final word" on the matter.
The SC had then asked Sinha to file an affidavit and clarify if the government had seen the status report. The court directive came after Vahanvati told the bench that he had not gone through the report.