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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

Congress meet to control coalgate damage

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, April 13, 2013
First Published: 21:26 IST(13/4/2013) | Last Updated: 23:39 IST(13/4/2013)

The Congress core group met on Saturday to take stock of the situation following the latest twist in the alleged irregularities in coal block allotments — reports that law minister Ashwini Kumar met CBI officials before the agency submitted its report to the Supreme Court.

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The top Congress leadership met Kumar and CBI director Ranjit Sinha. Sources said Kumar explained his position to the party brass. And party spokesperson Rashid Alvi later rejected the charge that Kumar tried to influence the CBI. He said, “The truth will come out.”

Sinha, however, refused to speak about the meeting, insisting he would report only to the SC. “We will tell everything in the court. How can I lie to the court?”

The BJP, meanwhile, renewed its attack on the government, with Arun Jaitley, leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, insisting that the “rogue government” would not allow the CBI to honestly probe the coal scam.

His counterpart in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, described the episode as “an attempt to save Prime Minister Manmohan Singh”, who held the charge of the coal ministry during the time of the scam.

Conscious of the pitfalls of interacting with the CBI, sources recalled how the PM refused to give appointment to then CBI chief AP Singh for more than two months before the agency was scheduled to submit its charge sheet.

The Congress feels that the fresh controversy also comes at an inopportune time, as the public focus was on the tussle within the NDA over its prime ministerial candidate.

It also comes just nine days before the second half of the budget session. Last year, the monsoon session was almost washed out as the BJP demanded PM’s resignation over the CAG report on the alleged scam.

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