CBI Director challenges Attorney General's claim in coalgate



New Delhi: CBI Director Ranjit Sinha on Monday compounded the woes of Attorney General GE Vahanvati by claiming in his affidavit to the Supreme Court that the top law officer not only "glanced" through the draft status report but also suggested changes in them.

The Attorney General had already been accused by the then Additional Solicitor General Harin Raval that he did see the draft status reports, shared with others including the Law Minister.

The CBI chief, in his 9-page affidavit, rejected the claim of the AG that he was not aware of the contents of the draft report.

The AG not only glanced through the draft reports but also made certain observations about them besides suggesting some "minor" changes, the affidavit said.

During the hearing on April 30, Vahanvati had responded to Raval's allegations by saying "since a lot of things have been said and the letter has been leaked yesterday, I am pained. I never had the copy of the status report. I did not have the copy even today."

The AG had also said that he did had the copy (draft report).

Besides naming Law Minister, PMO and Coal Ministry officials, the CBI director said a "majority of these changes were done by my officers in order to refine the report either on their own or in consultation with the ASG (Raval) and his assisting advocate or by the Law Minister.

"Besides, a few changes were also done on the suggestion of the AG and officials of the PMO and the Coal Ministry. It is difficult at this stage to attribute each change to a particular person with certainty."

The Director, however, said neither the central theme of the status reports got changed after meetings nor any deletion of any evidence against any suspect or accused took place.

Earlier, the AG had countered the charge of Raval by saying he was not aware of the contents of the draft report shared with the Law Minister, PMO and the Coal Ministry.

Raval, who put in his papers ASG on April 30, had shot off a letter to Vahanvati alleging he has been made a "scapegoat" in the matter.

"You (AG) will also kindly recall that on 6th March, 2013, while I was in court, I received a message from your end, asking me to see the Law Minister at 12.30 with the Status Report...Only one of Status Report of one of the preliminary inquiries was shown to the Law Minister and was perused by him as well as by you. Certain suggestions were made, including by you, to CBI, some of which were accepted. No suggestions emanated from me.

"In compliance of the above, the CBI officials brought the drafts which were perused and settled by you Sir. I was present in your residential office" Raval said in his letter.

"...On account of your (AG) statement, I felt embarrassed and was forced to take a stand in court, consistent with your submission made as Attorney General for India, that the contents of the Status Report were not known to you and that they were not shared with the government," the leaked letter had said, adding "I have a feeling that I am sought to be made scapegoat but I am confident that truth will always prevail."

PTI