Coalgate: Extremely major changes made in CBI affidavit, says BJP

BJP said "extremely major" changes were made in CBI`s status report to Supreme Court on coal block allocations to protect govt and Parliament won`t run unless PM and Law Minister Ashwani Kumar resign.

Updated: May 06, 2013, 23:57 PM IST

New Delhi: BJP on Monday alleged that "extremely major" changes have been made in CBI`s status report to the Supreme Court on coal block allocations to protect the government and made it clear that Parliament will not be allowed to run unless Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Law Minister Ashwani Kumar resign.
The main Opposition also slammed the government for trying to get the crucial Food Security Bill passed in the Lok Sabha today without any debate even though it claimed it wanted the legislation to be passed.

The party put the resignation of Kumar and Railway Minister P K Bansal as a pre-condition for support to the Food as well as the Land Acquisition Bill.

The CBI affidavit in the Supreme Court today gave fresh ammunition to BJP which charged the alterations made by Kumar were aimed at protecting the government on the coal issue.

The coal portfolio was held by the Prime Minister during the period under scanner for coal block allocations.

"The Prime Minister and Law Minister have lost credibility and moral right to continue in office," BJP President Rajnath Singh told reporters.

Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley referred to Para 19 of the CBI affidavit and said the portion where the probe agency had stated that "a system regarding allocation, weightage and marks was non-existent" has been removed at the instance of the minister.

Similarly, the finding by CBI that no broadsheets or charts were prepared by the Screening Committee has also been deleted by the minister. Another significant change is removal of the section where the agency wants to know why the criteria of auction suggested by CAG in 2004 has not been followed even till 2010.

"These are extremely major changes... The investigation was directed at the Coal Minister and the Prime Minister. In a way, the report was shown to possible suspects," Jaitley said.

On the alleged involvement of Bansal`s nephew in the
bribery case, Jaitley said there is a "rhythm" in the way the files moved and the money was paid.

"The person who was given the bribes is an alter ego of the Railway Minister in politics and in business," he said, and asked "why should strangers be paid bribes?"

Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj expressed her ire at government`s attempt to get the Food Security Bill passed in the House amid the din.

She was referring to an attempt in the Lok Sabha where the Bill was taken up for consideration amid slogan-shouting by BJP members over coal block allocation issue. The discussion on it, however, could not be completed and the House was adjourned for the day following protests by BJP over the move.

"This government is not only corrupt but is also an oppressive one. Outside Parliament, it indulges in corruption and inside Parliament, it acts as an oppressor. It tried to get the Food Security Bill passed in the Lok Sabha today thinking this will divert the country`s attention from their corruption. This is condemnable," Swaraj told reporters.

She maintained that the atmosphere inside Parliament is very tense and it is improper for the government to get the Bills passed in such an atmosphere.

She said there is time for the government till May 10 to get these two Bills passed but it should first ask the two ministers to step down.

BJP, which last week talked about total breakdown of its relations with the government, boycotted the Business Advisory Committee Meeting of the Lok Sabha today.

Jaitley maintained that Kumar`s role in changing the CBI report cannot be justified. He referred to the Vineet Narain case and said no minister or even the police commissioner can influence the investigating officer and doing so is tantamount to interference in the probe.

"CBI had no business to take its report to any official or minister," said the noted lawyer and BJP leader.

He said CBI officials can meet the Law Minister only on a matter of law and not on factual matters of a case.

On Bansal, BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "For a fair inquiry also, the Railway Minister needs to be removed."

Striking a sarcastic note, Prasad said Bansal`s company has made tremendous growth since 2005 and BJP wishes that the Indian economy grew at this rate.