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Coalgate: Cong squirms over Supreme Court indictment

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - 21:00

New Delhi: Embarrassed with the indictment by the apex court on coalgate issue, Congress on Tuesday reacted cautiously on continuation of Law Minister Ashwani Kumar Union Cabinet but asserted its response will not be found wanting when the complete facts emerge.

"Of course, it is not a pleasant comment for any dispensation, for any composition of the Government," party general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said on the Supreme Court observations on the issue, a clear indication of the growing discomfiture in the party over the controversy.

Dwivedi at the same time added "as far as the comments of the Supreme Court are concerned, I believe that the final opinion is yet to come and once it comes, an appropriate decision can be taken."

The Supreme Court today said CBI`s act of sharing the status report on Coalgate with the government has "shaken" the entire investigation process and vowed to "liberate" the agency from political influence and interference.

At the AICC briefing, party spokesperson Renuka Chowdhary said, "We go by what the highest court of the country says.... We do not comment on what the court has said and we very humbly accept what the court says."

Maintaining that the matter is still "sub judice" and it would be jurisprudence to wait till one gets the full facts of the "developing situation", Chowdhary significantly added, "I have also given an assurance that you will not find us wanting in any issue", when the full facts emerge.

Chowdhary evaded a direct question on whether Kumar will continue as Law Minister. "I am not competent authority to answer this. This is for the government or the Prime Minister, who will take a decision. And we will see. As I have said that this is an ongoing situation.

Let`s examine all the facts and I have also given an assurance that you will not find us wanting," she said.

A leader speaking on condition of anonymity said parleys are being held at senior level and a decision either way depends on how it pans out in next few days.

Pressed further about the fate of the Law Minister after the court observations, Chowdhary said, "it is a preliminary statement from the Supreme Court and let’s wait for the natural conclusion and then we will all discuss it. Till then I don`t wish to jump to conclusions."

She added that running a government is a team aspect and meetings and discussions are on.

The issue is learnt to have been discussed in the 90-minute meeting of the Congress Core Group today.

The Law Minister earlier in the day had a meeting with the Prime Minister after the Supreme Court observations. The Prime Minister had before his meeting with Kumar said that any action required will be taken after he studies observations made by the top court.

Maintaining that Congress was not one of those who praise the court when decisions are in our favour and criticise it when the verdict is against them, Chowdhary said she would hesitate to judge any situation without having the full facts of the matter.

Asked whether she supports the action by Kumar of calling the CBI chief and asking him to show the draft report, Chowdhary said, "I am no authority to support or condemn."
"There is a situation on hand that certain issues have been brought up and certain statements have been made by different players.
"I do believe that it is jurisprudence for us to be cautious and not being judgemental. Wait till we get all the facts at hour hand and then we will cross the bridge when it comes," she added.


First Published: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - 21:00

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