Live: PM says he will take action after studying SC's observations
CBI Director Ranjit Sinha said the agency welcomes the Supreme Court's observation and will reply to all questions raised by it.
New Delhi: 3:29 pm: Congress core group meeting likely at 5.30 pm on Tuesday evening.
2:40 pm: Law Minister Ashwani Kumar is meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
2:23 pm: Former IPS officer Kiran Bedi lauded the Supreme Court saying, "I am absolutely proud of our SC. I am thankful to the Constitution for giving us a court of the calibre of the SC. The SC has finally said what we the people have been saying. It has heard the people and it has shown the rule book."
2:08 pm: Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal defended the Prime Minister saying the government as well as the Congress party fully back PM. "There was complete transparency in coal block allocation. Because of the Karnataka elections, the Opposition parties are playing politics," Jaiswal said.
2:01 pm: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said he will study the SC's observations. Whatever action is called for will be taken after I study SC observations, Manmohan Singh said.
1:51 pm: Speaking to CNN-IBN, CBI Director Ranjit Sinha said, "The investigation should be within the exclusive domain of the investigating agency." When asked whether he regrets showing the coal scam status report to the Law Minister, he said, "There is nothing to regret."
1:39 pm: CBI Director Ranjit Sinha said the agency welcomes the Supreme Court's observation. "We will comply with the court order and will file a fresh affidavit with all the explanation desired by the apex court," Sinha told CNN-IBN.
1:27 pm: Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel is meeting Law Minister Ashwani Kumar.
1:21 pm: Additional Solicitor General Harin Raval may be asked to resign by Tuesday evening over his letter to Attorney General GE Vahanvati.
1:17 pm: The government has said that the Law Minister won't quit till the court gives its final decision in the case. Congress leader Janardhan Dwivedi has said, "Congress has never made any comments on the observations of the Supreme Court. We will maintain the same. Let's wait for the final judgement."
1:07 pm: The Central Bureau of Investigation has said that it will abide by what the Supreme Court has said.
12:55 pm: Prashant Bhushan said, "SC also said that the CBI director's affidavit doesn't give many other details."
12:51 pm: Senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who is a petitioner in the case, said the CBI affidavit said totally opposite of what the government had been saying. "SC has expressed concerns that in last hearing that it was given an impression that the status report was not shown to anyone, CBI director's affidavit says just the opposite," Prashant Bhushan said. The court has posted the matter for hearing on May 8.
12:43 pm: Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel is meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh following the Supreme Court's observations.
12:36 pm: The Supreme Court has told the CBI to file a fresh affidavit answering the following questions by May 6:
- The Supreme Court has asked the CBI to file an affidavit answering some questions?
- Why was it not disclosed that the March 8 report was shared with the government?
- Why on March 12 a very emphatic assertion was made by the CBI Counsel that this report was not shared?
- Besides the Law Minister and two Joint Secretaries, was the report shared with anybody else?
- Were any changes made in the CBI status report?
- At whose instance were the changes made and what is the effect of changes?
- Is the Law Minister entitled to call for such a report?
- Does it not show erosion of the trust that the court has shown in CBI?
12:25 pm: The Supreme Court has asked the CBI to file an affidavit answering some questions. The court wants to know why was it not disclosed that the March 8 report was shared with the government. The court has asked why on March 12 a very emphatic assertion was made by the CBI Counsel that this report was not shared.
The court wants to know if besides the Law Minister and two Joint Secretaries, the report has been shared with anybody else. The court also wants to know if there were any changes made in the CBI status report, at whose instance were the changes made and what is the effect of changes.
12:13 pm: The Opposition fired guns at the government in Parliament over the Supreme Court's observations on the coal scam. Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said the proceedings were disrupted not because of the Opposition but because of the scams and the corrupt government.
12:02 pm: Opposition MPs shouted slogans in Parliament following the Supreme Court's observations. However, the Finance Bill has been tabled amidst the uproar.
11:55 am: The CBI has welcomed all the observations made by the Supreme Court on the coal scam.
11:51 am: Biju Janata Dal leader Pinaki Mishra said that the Congress has tried to finish all institutions. "PM should introspect the kind of people he has put on top posts into such holy and sacred institutions," Mishra said.
11:49 am: Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati said her party is of the view that the CBI must be independent.
11:46 am: CPI leader D Raja said that the Prime Minister must own up the responsibility and explain his stand. He, however, fell short of demanding the Prime Minister's resignation.
11:44 am: Clamour is growing for both the Prime Minister and the Law Minister's resignation. "The Supreme Court's observations are very very serious. The Prime Minister must resign now," BJP leader Balbir Punj said.
11:39 am: CPI leader D Raja demanded that the Law Minister be sacked. "Parliament should take a serious note of this. The Law Minister cannot continue in his position now. The Prime Minister must act. This is a serious breach in the functioning of the CBI," D Raja said.
11:35 am: The Supreme Court said that this suppression by the CBI that it shared the coal scam status report with the Law Minister is not ordinary.
11:33 am: The Supreme Court is coming down heavily on the CBI and has told the agency not to take any instructions from its political masters.
11:31 am: Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Manish Tewari are holding a meeting.
11:27 am: The court questioned as to why it was kept in the dark about sharing of information with the government officials.
11:23 am: The Supreme Court has also said that the CBI must not be influenced by its political masters. "The CBI's independent position must be restored. Our first exercise will be to liberate CBI from political interference," the court said.
The Opposition has hit out at the Prime Minister saying he is involved. BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy said the Opposition will not let Parliament run till the Law Minister and the Prime Minister resign. "The charges are against the PM himself. SC says it is disturbed by the facts and the information being shared. If the PM still wants to stay in power, people will lose faith in the government. What more proof do you need against the PM," Rudy said.
11:09 am: The Supreme Court has said that the details in the CBI affidavit on the coal scam are 'very disturbing'. "There has been a massive breach of trust that has shaken our foundation," the apex court said. The court said sharing information with the government has shaken the entire process.
Earlier, CBI sources had said that changes were made in the status report on coal scam after a meeting with Law Minister Ashwani Kumar. CBI sources said they will not hide anything from the Supreme Court, which was hearing the case on Tuesday and will decide whether the government tried to influence the CBI probe.
The CBI had on Friday filed its affidavit on the coal block allocation scam report with the Supreme Court, in which agency director Ranjit Sinha had said that the draft report was shared with the Law Minister, a charge the Congress has rejected. The director had also said the draft of the report was even shared with the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and Coal Ministry officials.
The CBI would submit both the status reports to the Supreme Court on Tuesday in a sealed envelope, sources had said. In March, the probe agency had said in its status report that many companies were given coal blocks through false representations and that there was no rationale for allocation of the blocks. The Supreme Court had ordered the CBI not to share the report with the government. It has also asked the Centre to explain why a small group of companies were favoured.