New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed proceedings against ex-PM Manmohan Singh and 5 others in the coal block allocation scam. It also issued notice to CBI and asked to reply in 3 weeks.
Earlier, Manmohan Singh had moved the Supreme Court seeking quashing of the summons against him and stay of criminal proceedings in a CBI court in the coal block allocation case in which he has been named as an accused.
A battery of senior lawyers including Kapil Sibal and K T S Tulsi settled a petition challenging the special court order summoning him as accused in the case of allocation of Talabira-II coal block in Odisha in 2005 to Aditya Birla group company Hindalco.
Hindalco Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla and former Coal Secretary P C Parakh, who were also summoned as accused in the case, have also filed petitions challenging the trial court order. They may make a mention of their appeals in a day or two.
Singh has sought quashing of the summons issued to him to appear as an accused on April 8 by Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar on the ground that the order was passed without application of mind.
“There is complete non-application of mind,” the petition said about the March 11 order.
The former Prime Minister has also sought a stay on the criminal proceedings CBI court contending that there was no element of criminality in his decisions taken in the capacity of Coal Minister.
One of the advocates, associated with the filing of the Special Leave Petition, said there are several other grounds to show that the summoning order was “bad in law”.
The plea also said that there was nothing on record to point out that Singh has done any acts which may constitute any offence.
The former Prime Minister had only taken a decision as a competent authority on allocation of Talabira-II coal block to Hindalco on the representation of Odisha government, it said.
The advocate said there may be a fault in decision making but there is no evidence to show that there was an abuse of power and moreover, taking a decision in government is not an offence.