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Coalgate: Govt, Congress rally behind law minister

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 03, 2013
First Published: 00:37 IST(3/5/2013) | Last Updated: 01:56 IST(3/5/2013)

A day after law minister Ashwani Kumar briefed his party and ministry colleagues on the "sharing of CBI's status report" on the coal blocks allocation scam, the Congress and the government on Thursday rallied behind him.


The first to come out in his defence was external affairs minister Salman Khurshid, who argued that the CBI under the present arrangement cannot work in isolation.

"The law ministry provides all logistic support, including counsels, to the CBI. But this (sharing of report) is not as if the law ministry has interfered in investigations," he said.

A senior CBI official concurred with Khurshid's views.

"Unlike the election commission and the CAG, the CBI is not a statutory body and is part of the executive government. So, it is unrealistic to expect that the CBI will act in isolation," he said.

Earlier on Friday morning, Parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath, Congress president Sonia Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel and the law minister held an hour-long meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Briefing government and party spokespersons on the entire matter on Wednesday, Kumar had stressed that there was nothing wrong in his meeting the CBI director as it was well under his jurisdiction.

He further stated that the law minister is the legal advisor for the CBI under the existing laws.

The Congress also backed him.

"The law minister has repeatedly maintained that he has done no wrong. We have no reason to disbelieve him. He is an eminent lawyer and a man of great standing and great integrity… What he has stated is fairly acceptable," party spokesman Sandeep Dikshit said.

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