Cong defends Ashwani Kumar,fate depends on SC view of report

Cong defends Ashwani Kumar,fate depends on SC view of report

Soon after the SC observations came,Kumar met PM in his Parliament office and briefed him.

Law Minister Ashwani Kumar continued to hover in the danger zone with the Opposition baying for his resignation although he got a breather on Tuesday after the Supreme Court sought more details from the CBI to make up its mind on whether the political executive had influenced the probe into the coal block allocations.

A Congress core group meeting that took stock of the situation this evening went along with the decision that the government should continue to brazen it out at this juncture as the apex court had still not expressed its views clearly on the issue.

‘No decision’ was the refrain emanating from the meeting. However,in doing so,the leadership appeared to extend its backing to Kumar as well as his contention that he had not materially changed the direction of the CBI probe though he did convene a meeting with CBI officials where details of the status report were “shared”.

Soon after the Supreme Court observations came,Kumar met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his Parliament office and briefed him.


“Whatever action is called for will be taken after I study the Supreme Court observations,” Singh told reporters. Kumar then made his way to the Lok Sabha,barely managing to catch the last few minutes of the Finance Bill being passed,but strategically positioning himself to greet Congress president Sonia Gandhi as she walked out of the House after it was adjourned.

Kumar’s fate,sources said,now hinges on the court’s assessment of the second affidavit that CBI Director Ranjit Sinha has been asked to file by May 6,giving reasons as to why he did not admit earlier that the status report had been shared with the Law Minister and officials of the PMO and Coal Ministry. It also will be perusing the two reports — the original draft and the changed one after the meeting with the Law Ministry — while making up its mind.

The temporary breather for Kumar may get extended though if the court decides to set another date for hearing on May 8. This is because the court will go on a 45-day vacation from May 13 and should another date be set,it will be only after court reconvenes.