Ousted Union Law Minister Ashwani Kumar, who was forced to step down following the adverse remarks made by the Supreme Court, on Saturday reposed his faith in divine justice even as he continued to maintain his innocence.
“My conscience remains clear and I believe that I will stand vindicated because divine justice ordains that truth and justice shall prevail,” he told reporters here.
Absolving himself of any wrongdoing in the case, that created a political storm in the country and put the UPA Government in the dock, Ashwani said, “putting in papers or (submitting) resignation by no stretch of imagination implies wrongdoing.”
“There are certain political decisions that are considered necessary... whatever the Prime Minister and the Congress high command thought fit, as a loyal foot soldier I have done and I am proud of the fact that I am a loyal foot soldier of the party,” the 60 year-old lawyer-turned-politico said.
Ashwani had kicked up a major row after he was accused by the CBI of vetting its draft in the coal allocation scam.
Handpicked by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to handle the key Law Ministry, following his brief stint as MoS, Parliamentary Affairs and Planning, Ashwani’s fall has been equally dramatic.
Addressing a news conference, with a motley group of slogan raising Sikh and Muslim supporters standing behind him, the Rajya Sabha MP from Punjab presented a good photo op. They hailed Kumar as ‘Sher-e-Punjab’, and even lauded the Prime Minister.
The former minister, who had been left alone to fend for himself after the controversy broke out, read out from a prepared text.
“I have yesterday (on Friday) tendered my resignation to the Prime Minister while thanking him for giving me the opportunity to be part of his team. I have done so to put an end to an unnecessary controversy in a matter which is before the Supreme Court and in which no adverse comments have been made against me in any manner whatsoever.”
As Ashwani fielded questions from the reporters on whether he had been made a scapegoat or had lost Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi’s trust, the former Stephanian said, “I do not think I have lost the support of any leader...it is the prerogative of the Prime Minister to ask his colleagues when to resign and how to resign.”
“Let the people of this country and my friends who stood by me -- many of you in the media and my esteemed colleagues know me for what I am. I would rather leave the judgment to them.” Ever since Ashwani’s ouster from the Manmohan Ministry along with his former Cabinet colleague Pawan Bansal political pundits have been trying to draw parallels between the two.