Defiant on the outside, govt holds its breath until SC rules

ALaw Minister Ashwini Kumar. PTI photo.

Law Minister Ashwani Kumar's fate hung in the balance on Friday, with much depending on the view the Supreme Court takes of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director's affidavit on April 30.

The minister, who met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the day, was learnt to have argued that the affidavit was unlikely to lead to the court passing strictures against him. In the evening, the Congress Core Group met at the PM's residence to discuss the party's strategy. Click here to read CBI's affidavit filed in the Supreme Court

Officially, the government ruled out Kumar's resignation. But the ruling dispensation was said to be divided on the matter. A section of the Congress was of the view that following the CBI's admission to the court, it was no longer tenable for Kumar to stay in his post.

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But some UPA strategists were in favour of brazening it out. This group reflected the government's interpretation of the CBI affidavit, confirming "that the present status report being filed in the Hon'ble Court has not been shared with any political executive in any manner whatsoever".

After a meeting of the UPA, Kumar said, "I have done no wrong. Truth will prevail."

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath declared, "There is no question of his (Kumar's) resignation. He is not going to resign." Government sources insisted there was nothing wrong in the CBI consulting the law minister for a legal opinion. Kamal Nath argued that only the draft report had been shown to Kumar, not the final report.

Asked about the presence of PMO and coal ministry officials at the law minister's meeting with CBI officials, Nath said the contents of the report were to be provided by the coal ministry, and the PM had had the portfolio for some time. "The legal aspect is looked into by the law minister," he said.

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