Ex-minister seeks summons for former PM Manmohan Singh in coal scam case
Former Minister of State for Coal Dasari Narayan Rao on Monday sought summoning of Manmohan Singh, claiming in a Special Court that the office of the then Prime Minister had allocated a coal block to Jindal group after examining and re-examining the matter.
New Delhi: Former Minister of State for Coal Dasari Narayan Rao on Monday sought summoning of Manmohan Singh, claiming in a Special Court that the office of the then Prime Minister had allocated a coal block to Jindal group after examining and re-examining the matter.
Supporting ex-Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda's plea seeking summoning of Singh as additional accused in a coal block allocation scam case, Rao's counsel told Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar that Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in Jharkhand was allotted to Naveen Jindal Group firms and the decision was taken by the then Prime Minister who was also the Coal Minister at that time.
"I am supporting the (Koda's) application," Rao's counsel Satish Maneshinde told the court.
He said it was the Prime Minister's Office which had examined and re-examined the issue of allocation of coal block and then decided to allocate it to the Jindal Group firms.
Senior advocate SV Raju, who appeared for former MP and industrialist Naveen Jindal, told the court that he neither supported nor opposed Koda's plea to summon Manmohan Singh and two others as additional accused in the case.
He, however, said that any order passed by the court on Koda's application should not prejudice the rights of the accused to seek discharge from the case.
"However, it is submitted that any order passed in the present application should not prejudice the rights of accused no. 7 (Jindal) including his right to seek discharge at the time of arguments on charge," the brief written submission filed by Raju said.
Similarly, most of the co-accused in the case adopted the arguments advanced by Jindal's counsel.
Special Public Prosecutor R S Cheema told the court that he would advance arguments on Koda's plea tomorrow.
The case pertains to alleged irregularities in allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block to Jindal group firms -- Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) and Gagan Sponge Iron Pvt Ltd (GSIPL).
Koda, who is one of the 15 accused in the case, had moved an application seeking to summon Manmohan Singh and two others -- Anand Swaroop, then Secretary (Energy), and Jai Shankar Tiwari, then Secretary (Mines and Geology)-- as additional accused in the case.
The CBI had on 4 September told the court that all the 15 accused in a coal scam case, in which Koda sought summoning of Manmohan Singh as accused, should clarify whether they supported or opposed his plea.
Koda's plea seeking to summon Singh as an additional accused had contended that Singh being the final authority to allocate coal blocks, cannot escape from the consequences of his decision.
In his plea, Koda had claimed, "the materials placed by CBI shows that the said conspiracy, if any, cannot be complete without the involvement of the Coal Minister (Singh) who had the final say in the entire allotment."
During arguments earlier, Koda's counsel had alleged that Manmohan Singh was "aware of everything" in the process of allocating the coal block to Naveen Jindal group firms.
He had said the court was required to consider that the case of all other accused "stand on a better footing as compared to Dr Manmohan Singh" who has taken the "ultimate and final decision" to allot coal block to the two Jindal firms.
Koda had alleged that as per evidence placed on record by CBI, Swaroop and Tiwari, had specifically suggested withdrawal of recommendations made in favour of M/s Lanco Infratech and further recommended enhancement of shares of M/s JSPL from 30 per cent to 70 per cent.
Besides Jindal, Koda and Rao, ex-Coal Secretary HC Gupta and 11 others, including five firms, are accused in the case.
The other individual accused in the case are -- Rajeev Jain, Director of Jindal Realty Pvt Ltd, Girish Kumar Suneja and Radha Krishna Saraf, Directors of GSIPL, Suresh Singhal, Director of New Delhi Exim Pvt Ltd, K Ramakrishna Prasad, Managing Director of Sowbhagya Media Ltd, and chartered accountant Gyan Swaroop Garg.
Besides the ten accused, five firms -- Jindal Steel and Power Ltd, Jindal Realty Pvt Ltd, Gagan Infraenergy Ltd (formerly known as GSIPL), Sowbhagya Media Ltd and New Delhi Exim Pvt Ltd -- are also accused in the case.
While summoning them as accused, the court had said prima facie offences under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with sections 409(criminal breach of trust by public servant), 420 (cheating) of IPC read with sections 13(1)(c) and 13(1)(d) (criminal misconduct by a public servant) of the Prevention of Corruption Act were made out against them.
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