Coal scam: Ashwani Kumar made two 'significant' deletions, says CBI

Ranjit SinhaCBI Director Ranjit Sinha (IE Photo)

CBI Diector Ranjit Sinha on Monday admitted to the Supreme Court that "significant" changes were made in the "final" status report on the coal blocks allocation case at the instance of Union Law Minister Ashwani Kumar.

Sinha also admitted that certain changes were made on the suggestions of Attorney General G E Vahanvati, then Additional Solicitor General H P Raval and officials of the Prime Minister's Office and Coal Ministry during the course of three meetings held on March 6 two days before the report was submitted to the apex court.

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However, Sinha, in his affidavit today, also claimed that sharing of the report and the changes made have "neither altered the central theme of the report, nor shifted the focus of inquiries or investigations in any manner."

The affidavit stated that "no names of suspects or accused were removed... no accused or suspect were let off in the process" and there was "no deletion of any evidence" against anyone.

While submitting that it was difficult at this stage to attribute each change to a particular person with certainty, the CBI chief asserted that the changes made by the Law Minister, PMO and Coal Ministry officials were accepted by the CBI since they pertained to its "tentative" findings and also "in order to refine the reports".

The affidavit, which will be taken up on Wednesday, contradicts the stand taken by the Law Minister and AG that they had not suggested any changes. Raval, who had during the March 12 hearing claimed that the report was not shared with political executives, resigned last week after Sinha admitted that it was shared with Kumar and others, "as desired by them".

In his nine-page affidavit, Sinha cited two "significant" changes made in the report after the Law Minister's intervention. Notably, both these changes pertained to the investigation into allocation of coal blocks from 2006- 2009, during the UPA-I regime.

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