New Delhi: Law Minister Ashwani Kumar's fate hangs in balance as the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear coal scam on Tuesday and decide whether the government vetted the CBI report or not.
      
Hectic consultations were on in the government involving top officials including legal experts on the stand to be taken during the court hearing on Tuesday.  Attorney General GE Vahanvati met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the week.
      
There was no official word on what the two discussed but it is believed that they could have gone over what the government should say in the court, which already been conveyed what the agency wanted to say and what it finally said in the status report.
      
The CBI had submitted to the court last week the contents of its original investigation details along with the changes made in them. The hearing by a three-judge bench assumes significance as any adverse remarks against the government or the Law Minister on the alleged interference in the preparation of the status quo hit the government could make Kumar's continuance in the Cabinet might become untenable.
      
The opposition has been demanding the dismissal of Kumar and has alleged that he has been used as a ‘shield’ by the Prime Minister to ‘safeguard’ himself.  The BJP has also demanded the Prime Minister's resignation.
    
The bench headed by Justice RM Lodha will also go through the latest status report filed by the CBI in the multi-crore scam.
    
In an embarrassing admission, CBI Director Ranjit Sinha had last week filed an affidavit in the court saying that its probe report on coal allocation scam was shared with the Law Minister and Joint-Secretary level officials of PMO and Coal ministry.

In his affidavit filed on April 26, Sinha assured the Apex Court that the agency will not share further status reports in this case with any member of the political executive.
     
Earlier, the CBI and the Centre had clashed over the coalgate scam with the agency telling the Apex Court that there have been ‘arbitrary allotments without scrutiny’ in the coal blocks allocation during UPA-I tenure and the government vehemently refuting the findings saying that the ‘CBI is not the final word on this.’
     
In its status report filed on March 8, the CBI had said that the coal block allocation during 2006-09 was done without verifying the credentials of companies which allegedly misrepresented facts about themselves and no rationale was given by the Coal Ministry in giving coal blocks to them.
     
CBI has so far registered 11 FIRs in the matter. The Supreme Court will hear the case, including the controversial affidavit filed by Sinha, on Tuesday.

(Agencies)

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