Manmohan Singh made accused in Coal case, summoned by court

Manmohan Singh made accused in Coal case, summoned by courNEW DELHI: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla and former Coal Secretary P C Parakh were today summoned as accused in a coal scam case by a special court which observed that Singh was roped into the criminal conspiracy to “accommodate” M/s HINDALCO in Talabira-II coal block allocation in 2005.

Rejecting the CBI’s closure report, the court also summoned M/s HINDALCO and its two top officials, Shubhendu Amitabh and D Bhattacharya, as accused in the case.

“…prima facie it is clear that the impugned criminal conspiracy which was initially conceived by Shubhendu Amitabh and D Bhattacharya and Kumar Mangalam Birla and M/s HINDALCO was carried out further by roping in P C Parakh, who was Secretary (Coal), and thereafter the then Minister of Coal, Dr Manmohan Singh,” Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar said in his 73-page order.

“However, from the nature of action of the aforesaid persons, it is also prima facie clear that though Secretary Coal (Parakh) and Minister of Coal (Singh) were playing different roles, there was a concerted joint effort to somehow accommodate M/s HINDALCO in Talabira-II, coal block.

“It was the central common objective of the impugned criminal conspiracy known to all concerned,” the court said.

If found guilty, the accused may face punishment of up to life imprisonment as the court has taken cognizance of offences of criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust by public servants or by banker, merchant or agent under the IPC and under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Reacting to the court order, Singh said he was upset but expressed confidence that truth will prevail in a fair trial.

“Of course, I am upset but this is part of life,” he told reporters here when asked for his reaction on the court order.

“I have always said I am open for legal scrutiny…I am sure the truth will prevail and I will get a chance to put forward my case with all the facts,” Singh added.

Maintaining that he respected the judicial process in the country, Singh said, “I hope, in a fair trial, I will prove my innocence.”–PTI

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