Coal block case: Court summons ex-PM Manmohan Singh as an accusedtext_fields
New Delhi: A special court here on Wednesday summoned former prime minister Manmohan Singh, industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla and former coal secretary P.C. Parakh in a coal block allocation case.
Special Judge Bharat Parashar, after taking cognizance of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) final report in the case, also summoned Hindalco officials Shubendu Amitabh and D. Bhattacharya on April 8.
The court summoned them under various sections of the Indian Penal code dealing with criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust and provisions under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The final compliance report in the matter was filed on the court's order on February 19.
The court on December 16 last year, while refusing to accept the CBI's closure report, had directed the agency to record the former prime minister's statement.
Manmohan Singh was questioned in January in connection with allocation of Talabira II and III coal blocks in Odisha to Hindalco in 2005 when he also held the coal portfolio.
Earlier, the agency had filed the statements of various people recorded during its probe. The CBI had in October 2013 booked Birla, Parakh and others on charges of criminal conspiracy and corruption in the case.
It later it filed a closure report, saying the evidence collected during investigations did not substantiate the allegations levelled against the people named in the FIR.
The court, however, had rejected the closure report and observed that a concerted effort was being made to manipulate the entire government machinery so as to protect the interest of Hindalco.
Commenting on the development, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said the former prime minister was paying for the "sin" of the Congress party.
"It is a Congress' scam and because of the Congress' sin, Manmohan ji, the economist (former) prime minister, has to face this," Javadekar told reporters.
"Congress is responsible for bringing former PM to this threshold," he added.
Calling it "yet another blot on the Congress", Javadekar said all political parties siding with the Congress will now be forced to reconsider their stand.
Here is the timeline of the case:
October 2013: CBI registers FIR against K.M. Birla, P.C. Parakh and others on charges of criminal conspiracy and corruption in the allocation of coal blocks.
August 28, 2014: CBI files closure report in the case, saying evidence collected during probe did not substantiate the allegations levelled against the people named in the FIR.
October 21: CBI files revised closure report in the case.
December 16: Court rejects closure report, orders further probe and to record statements of the former prime minister who was then holding coal ministry portfolio.
January 2015: Manmohan Singh was questioned by CBI in connection with the case.
January 27: CBI files progress report of investigation.
February 19: CBI files final report in the case.
March 11: Court summons Manmohan Singh, Birla, Parakh, Hindalco company, its officials Shubendu Amitabh and D. Bhatt acharya in the case for April 8.