Ex-PM Manmohan Singh summoned as accused in coal scam case

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 11, 2015 12:36 IST

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was on Wednesday summoned to appear before a special court on April 8 as accused in a coal block allocation scam case.

The case pertains to the 2005 allocation of Talabira II coal block in Odisha.

After taking cognisance of CBI's final investigation report in the matter, special judge Bharat Parashar held, that on the face of it, there was enough evidence to summon the former PM, who was also the coal minister at the time of allocation.

The court also summoned five others, including eminent industrialist KM Birla, former coal secretary PC Parakh and officials of M/s Hindalco, the company to which the coal blocks had been allocated.

They have been summoned to answer allegations criminal conspiracy (section 120B), criminal breach of trust(409) and corruption (under the Prevention of Corruption Act).

The case was registered in October 2013, a month after Singh told Parliament that his government had nothing to hide on the coal scam.

After a year-long investigation, CBI had sought to close the file, saying there was insufficient evidence to prosecute.

However, the court directed further investigation of the matter, and asked the agency to examine Singh as it would be "appropriate". After recording the former PM's statement in late January, the investigating agency filed its final report last month.

Singh had headed the coal ministry between 2004 and 2009, for almost five years when the UPA government was in power. A number of coal block allocations made during that time are now being investigated by the CBI.

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