Coalscam: Accused JIPL director wants Manmohan Singh to be a witness for the defence
Jharkhand Ispat Pvt Ltd (JIPL) Director RS Rungta, an accused in a coal block allocation scam case, on Thursday moved an application before a special court seeking to summon former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as a witness in his defence in the case.
New Delhi: Jharkhand Ispat Pvt Ltd (JIPL) Director RS Rungta, an accused in a coal block allocation scam case, on Thursday moved an application before a special court seeking to summon former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as a witness in his defence in the case.
Besides Singh, who was also the then minister of coal, Rungta also sought summoning of former Minister of State for Coal Dasari Narayan Rao as a witness in his defence in the case.
In his plea, Rungta also sought summoning of various documents and said that these two witnesses would depose about their genuineness.
Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar, however, told Rungta's counsel to first argue on the relevancy of summoning Singh and Rao as witnesses in the case.
"In the facts and circumstances of the case, I first deem it appropriate to hear the counsel for the accused on the relevancy of summoning these witnesses in his defence. Put up for arguments on the plea on 8 December," the judge said.
Regarding Singh, the accused said, "he will prove the record of the Coal Ministry and the decision taken by him about constitution of screening committee and its functions and powers and would also prove the corresponding record of the Ministry of Coal."
"Further, the two witnesses (Singh and Rao) named above may also be directed to be summoned to depose about genuineness of the documents being produced from their respective office (as they were holding at the relevant point of time)," the plea said.
The other two accused - JIPL and RC Rungta - also submitted their list of witnesses whom they want to examine in their defence and the court has fixed the case for recording of defence evidence on 19 December.
The case pertains to the allotment of North Dhadu coal block in Jharkhand to Jharkhand Ispat Pvt Ltd allegedly on the basis of false and forged documents.
The court had on 21 November concluded recording of statements of accused in the case.
JIPL and both the Rungtas were earlier put on trial by the court which had framed charges against them for securing allotment of North Dhadu coal block in Jharkhand allegedly on the basis of false and forged documents.
The court had framed charges against the three accused for alleged offences punishable under Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery of valuable security), 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating) and 471 (using a forged document as genuine) of the Indian Penal Code.
All the accused had pleaded not guilty.
In its charge sheet, CBI had alleged that it had found in the probe that JIPL had "grossly misrepresented" a number of aspects before the Ministry of Steel and the Ministry of Coal to inflate their claim, thereby inducing the coal ministry officials and the screening committee to allocate the coal block to them.
The accused, however, have claimed innocence before the court and denied the allegations levelled against them by the CBI.
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Though the CBI had earlier concluded its submissions on the issue of leave to appeal, it will have to argue the matter afresh due to the judge being changed. Justice Brijesh Sethi retired on 30 November.
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