Coal blocks case: SC hearing today, govt gets new lawyer

AshwaniKumarLaw Minister Ashwani Kumar (PTI photo)

Law Minister Ashwani Kumar may have survived demands for his resignation so far but Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has decided to seek the counsel of other ministerial colleagues in strategising government's approach in the Supreme Court on the controversial coal allocation case.

On Tuesday, the government roped in senior constitutional lawyer T R Andhyarujina to assist the team of lawyers in the Supreme Court when the crucial hearing takes place on Wednesday. Sources said senior ministers, who are also top lawyers and whose counsel was sought, suggested a few other names to the Prime Minister including senior lawyer K Parasaran, father of solicitor general Mohan Parasaran to represent the government.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid reportedly spoke to the senior Parasaran but the latter refused saying that 24 hours was too less time to prepare for the hearing. It was then that Andhyarujina was contacted and his services retained. The government, however, is likely to set up another team of lawyers to defend the government that may be headed by the senior Parasaran, the sources said.

Attorney General G E Vahanvati and Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran are leading the team representing government in the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court is likely to pose tough questions to the Centre in the wake of the CBI Director's nine-page affidavit on Monday where he admitted that the Law Minister and senior officials of the PMO and Coal Ministry had made significant changes in the agency's status report on its probe into the coal block allocations.

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