A special court on Wednesday dismissed the plea of an accused seeking to summon former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as defence witness in a coal scam case, saying the application was “vexatious” and it was apparently moved to delay the trial.
The court also rejected the plea of Jharkhand Ispat Pvt Ltd (JIPL) Director, R S Rungta, seeking to summon ex-minister of state for coal, Dasari Narayan Rao, as a witness in his defence in the case pertaining to alleged irregularities in allocation of North Dhadu coal block in Jharkhand to the firm.
Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar said that the grounds mentioned in Rungta’s plea for summoning these two as defence witnesses was “completely irrelevant and unwarranted”.
“In view of my aforesaid discussion, I accordingly dismiss the present application in so far as the summoning of two proposed witnesses namely Dasari Narayan Rao, the then Minister of State for Coal and Manmohan Singh, the then Prime Minister/Minister of Coal, is concerned being vexatious and having been moved to delay and to defeat the ends of justice,” the judge said in his 23-page order.
The court further noted, “thus, once again it is crystal clear that summoning of the two proposed witnesses by accused R S Rungta for the grounds as mentioned in the application is not only completely irrelevant and unwarranted but the application has been apparently moved for the purposes of causing delay so as to defeat the ends of justice and is vexatious in nature.”
It said that from perusal of nature of charges framed against the accused in the case, it was clear that proceedings which took place in the ministry of steel and the ministry of coal, including two screening committee meetings, was of no relevance to the matter.
However, the court said record reflecting constitution of members of screening committee relevant to the 27th and 30th meeting and the record of policy decision for allocation of coal block by joint venture/consortium could be permitted to be placed on record as urged by the accused in the plea.
“Accordingly, prosecution (CBI) is directed to intimate the authority with whom the said record as stated by them in their reply is stated to be available. Thereafter, the said record can be permitted to be placed on record....,” the court said.