The continuance or otherwise of Law Minister Ashwani Kumar in the Union Cabinet could be linked to the shape of things expected to unfold during hearing in the Supreme Court on May 8 on the Coalgate issue,Congress indicated today.
“On Monday,CBI will file an affidavit. Let the court decide. It is for the court to decide…..We stand by (Kumar) so long as it is not proved otherwise……He has constantly maintained that he has not done anything wrong.
“We have firm belief in what the Law Minister has said that he has done nothing illegal,nothing improper. There is no reason for us to disbelieve Ashwani Kumar. He is an eminent lawyer and a man of great standing and of great integrity”,party spokesman Sandeep Dikshit told reporters replying to a volley of questions on the issue.
Asked whether Kumar should resign,he said the Law Minister had told party colleagues at a meeting yesterday that he has not done anything wrong and dismissed suggestions of committing any impropriety.
Dikshit said the contention of the Law Minister is that he has not done what is being alleged about him and what he has stated is “fairly acceptable”.
Asked whether it was fair for the Law Minister to blame the Attorney General for calling the CBI chief to a meeting with him,the Congress spokesman said the blame game comes when there is some wrong doing. “It is for the court to decide. It is speculation……Let the court decide.”
To a query whether the Supreme Court’s stinging remarks earlier this week on the issue of CBI sharing its status report on coal mines allocation scam with the government,Dikshit said “let the judgement come. Judges don’t speak through statements,they speak through judgements”.
A Congress leader,who declined to be identfied,said Kumar insisted during meeting with party leaders yesterday that no representative of either the PMO or the Coal Ministry was present when the CBI Director had met him along with the Attorney General and the Solicitor General.
Yesterday,some searching questions had been put to the Law Minister at a party meeting here to discuss how to go about defending him and the government in the wake of the raging controversy over vetting of CBI status report in the Coalgate.
The Law Minister is learnt to have told party spokespersons and senior leaders including those who represent the party in television debates that he has done “no wrong” and hence there should be no shyness in countering opposition charges.
Some of those present,however,pointed out that since perceptions matter in politics,the controversy is creating trouble for Congress and the UPA government and it is indeed getting difficult to put up a defence.
One of the leaders said that even if minor changes were made in the draft report of the CBI,this will give an impression in the public that the agency prepared the report as per the government’s instructions.
There was also a view that the Law Minister should clarify the matter in public. A Union Minister opposed it but wondered that since proceedings in both the Houses are stalled,how will Kumar clarify his position.