Though the Congress continued to defend law minister Ashwani Kumar on the issue of his alleged interference in the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) probe into the coal blocks allocation scam, his fate will be determined by the sequence of events in the Supreme Court next week.
The party is anxiously awaiting the CBI's affidavit to be submitted in the Supreme Court on Monday, which it will take up for hearing on Wednesday.
Faced with the virtual washout of the ongoing second half of the budget session due to continuous disruption by an aggressive opposition, Congress sources said much will depend on what happens in the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
The government and the Congress party are not worried about generalised observations on the CBI's functioning by the top court, but any adverse remarks about Kumar's role may lead to an immediate rethink about his future as a minister.
An unrelenting opposition has been demanding the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's resignation and Kumar's ouster on the issue, but Congress sources said it wants Singh to take a final call on the law minister's continuance in the union cabinet after the Supreme Court's observations on the CBI affidavit on May 8.
On record, the Congress has maintained that there was no reason to disbelieve Kumar who has been repeatedly asserting that he had done no wrong in meeting CBI director Ranjit Sinha as it was well under his jurisdiction.
But the party also sounded a word of caution. "We stand by him till it is proved otherwise," party spokesman Sandeep Dikshit had said.