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Law Minister Ashwani Kumar gets breather for a week

April 30, 2013 21:41 IST

Left grappling with a mess after the Supreme Court's indictment, government and the Congress deliberated at length on the continuation of Law Minister Ashwani Kumar in the Cabinet but a decision may wait till the next hearing in the Coalgate on May 8.

As opposition mounted its demand for Kumar's removal, sections in the party as well as in the government are said to feel that instead of waiting for the apex court to make more damning observations in the days to come, it will be better if the law minister puts in his papers on moral grounds to save the government from further embarrassment.

The issue came up for discussion in a meeting of Congress Core Group  where a view is said to have emerged that government will await the May 8 hearing of the Supreme Court on the issue before taking any final view on Kumar,  sources said.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi chairs the high-power group with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and some senior ministers as members.

Reacting to the court's strong observations, the Congress has reacted with caution on the matter.

"Of course, it is not a pleasant comment for any dispensation, for any composition of the Government," party General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi said on the Supreme Court observations on the issue, a clear indication of the growing discomfiture in the party over the controversy.

At the same time, Dwivedi added "as far as the comments of the Supreme Court are concerned, I believe that the final opinion is yet to come and once it comes, an appropriate decision can be taken."

The Supreme Court said CBI's act of sharing the status report on Coal-gate with the government has "shaken" the entire investigation process and vowed to "liberate" the agency from political influence and interference.

At the AICC briefing, party spokesperson Renuka Chowdhary said that the matter is still "sub judice" and it would be prudent to wait till one gets the full facts of the "developing situation".

"I have also given an assurance that you will not find us wanting in any issue" when the full facts emerge, she added.

Chowdhary evaded a direct question on whether Kumar will continue as law minister.

"I am not competent authority to answer this. This is for government or the prime minister, who will take a decision. And we will see. As I have said that this is an ongoing situation.

"Let's examine all the facts and I have also given an assurance that you will not find us wanting," she said.

A leader speaking on condition of anonymity said parleys are being held at senior level and a decision either way depends on how it pans out in next few days.

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