The Congress-led UPA is back in news for manipulating the CBI all over again.
Ritu Sarin and Maneesh Chhibber report in The Indian Express that the CBI is learnt to be inclined to inform the Supreme Court that the controversial probe status report it submitted last month had been vetted by Law Minister Ashwani Kumar and PMO officials: Govt vetted coal scam report, CBI will tell Supreme Court:
Sources told The Indian Express that senior CBI officials, including director Ranjit Sinha, were summoned by Kumar days before the status report was filed.
During the lengthy meeting, also attended by some officials of the law ministry, several amendments in the status report were suggested and some also incorporated by the CBI.
"We resisted as much as we could, but yes, some toning down was done following the meeting," a CBI officer present at the meeting in Shastri Bhavan said.
The Indian Express report, quoting sources, also said that the CBI's status report was similarly "vetted'' by senior PMO officials, "although it is not clear whether more changes were made in the report at this meeting."
The CBI report, submitted to the apex court on March 8, points out irregularities in coal blocks allotment made in 2006-09 during UPA-1, and says it was done without verifying the credentials of companies which allegedly misrepresented facts about themselves.
This was refuted by the government on March 12, with Attorney General G E Vahanvati saying the CBI could not be the "final word" on it.
A bench of Justices R M Lodha, J Chelameswar and Madan B Lokur, in an unprecedented move had asked CBI director Ranjit Sinha to file an affidavit affirming that its report "was vetted by him and nothing contained therein has been shared with the political executive".
Vahanvati, when asked, told the court he had not gone through the report.
The Express report points out that Additional Solicitor General Harin Rawal had made a unequivocal statement in court that the status report had not been shared with anybody from the political executive.
Much would of course depend upon how the CBI director chooses to word his affidavi and whether the senior PMO officials fall in the category of what the apex court has described as "political executive".
Read the full Indian Express report: Govt vetted coal scam report, CBI will tell Supreme Court.