Coal report: In submission to Supreme Court, CBI listed govt changes
Officials said the CBI has made footnotes and highlights and submitted both the original status report as well as the amended one in a sealed cover to the apex court.
While the contentious first status report was submitted by the CBI to the court on March 8, these documents were submitted on April 26 along with the second status report and the two-page affidavit of Director Ranjit Sinha.
The Supreme Court bench, presided by Justice R M Lodha, is scheduled to take up the case on April 30. While the contents of Sinha's affidavit have already put the UPA government under considerable pressure, the listing of para-by-para and line-by-line changes by the CBI for the judges will certainly fly in the face of the government's defence that only "grammatical" and "typographical" changes were made in the first status report.
Officials familiar with the exercise said that while the general tenor of the CBI's submissions and its update on the investigations into the irregularities in coal block allocations remained the same, the amendments aimed to emphasise that probe was still in progress.
"If you look at the two drafts, maybe 15-20 per cent changes were effected at the behest of the minister and the bureaucrats," a law officer said.
What is evident at least in the case of the Law Minister is that to be able to do such a listing, the agency must have in its possession the markings and changes he personally suggested to the CBI's draft report.
Besides the Law Minister, two bureaucrats of the PMO and Coal Ministry also sat in conference with the CBI over contents of the status report and suggested further amendments after the first-stage changes were made.
Sources said that the CBI had sought legal advice on what all should be submitted before the apex court, including from their counsel in the case, U R Lalit. Based on this, a decision was taken to inform the judges of the precise amendments made, seperately by the minister and bureaucrats.
It is the first time the CBI director has been asked to submit an affidavit on oath on the impartiality of its probe, and the agency, it seems, instead of putting off scrutiny of the amendments for a future hearing decided to place all the facts before the Bench in one go.
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