Law Minister Ashwani Kumar is finding himself in the firing line not only in the Supreme Court but also within his own party as he failed to convince a bunch of Congress spokespersons on Wednesday to come out in his defence.
Instead of getting support,he was advised to first make a statement in Parliament regarding his indiscreet act of summoning CBI Director and ordering changes in the agencys status report in investigation of coal block allocation scam.
The group of spokespersons and partys television faces told him that they were willing to show solidarity but made it clear that he himself would have to take the initiative by clarifying his position about the incident that has angered the Supreme Court and resulted in considerable embarrassment to the government.
Kumar tried to argue that it would be wrong for him to speak on a matter that was in court,the Congress leaders told him that he himself was not a party in the case as yet and therefore nothing restrained him from clearing the air on his own role.
Among those who heard him out were ministers Pawan Kumar Bansal,Manish Tewari,Jairam Ramesh and Jayanthi Natarajan,and party leaders Janardhan Dwivedi,Raj Babbar,Girija Vyas and P C Chacko .
Kumar claimed that he was well within his rights to call the CBI Director and that the changes suggested in the status report were minor and largely grammatical. He also told them since the Director,Prosecution,in the CBI happens to be an officer of the legal service on deputation,therefore he,in his as minister in charge of legal services,had done nothing wrong in seeing the CBIs status report.
Sources said none of the party colleagues were convinced by the arguments of the Law Minister. They told him that perceptions mattered a lot in politics and that it would be in his and partys interests if he clarified the entire sequence of events. Kumar was reluctant but had to agree.
Kumar has got little support from the party or the government ever since Supreme Court made strong observations on Tuesday about the incident. Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid was the only senior minister to have come out in public to defend him,as demands for his removal grew from the Opposition.
Sushma charge against Sonia wrong: PC
New Delhi: Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday termed BJP leader Sushma Swarajs allegation that Sonia Gandhi had prevented her from speaking in the Lok Sabha as completely baseless and contended that such an unjustified and virulent personal attack on the Congress president was condemnable.
I was present in the Lok Sabha and my colleagues were also there. The entire broadcast of that time was telecast by some channels later in the day. There is no visual to show that the Congress president interrupted Sushma Swaraj or did anything else to prevent her from speaking, Chidambaram told a press conference in New Delhi.
These allegations are completely baseless and we reject these. Such virulent attack is unjustified. I am sorry she made the allegations, he said. PTI