Coal gate hearing: Manmohan Singh had no reason to presume non-compliance by company, says court
A special court investigating the coal scam case said that Manmohan Singh could not have presumed that guidelines were not followed in the allocation of coal blocks.
New Delhi: Former prime minister Manmohan Singh had no reason to presume that then Coal Secretary HC Gupta recommended a non-compliant private firm for coal block allocation in Madhya Pradesh, a special court said.
Special Judge Bharat Parashar, who convicted Gupta for irregularities in allocation of the Madhya Pradesh based Thesgora-B Rudrapuri coal block to Kamal Sponge Steel and Power Ltd, noted that the former coal secretary made a "dishonest misrepresentation" before Singh.
Singh, who had to act only upon the recommendations of the Screening Committee of which Gupta was the chairman, was then holding the portfolio of the Ministry of Coal (MOC) besides others.
The court said there was no reason for the prime minister to presume that the guidelines had not been complied with.
It said that it was "apparent" that Singh proceeded to consider the Screening Committee recommendation on the assumption that the applications must have been checked for their eligibility and completeness or that the guidelines must have been duly followed even by the Committee.
"While forwarding the file to prime minister as minister of coal for approval of the recommendation of the Screening Committee, it was nowhere mentioned by any of the MOC officers, much less by Gupta, that the applications have not been checked for their eligibility and completeness," it said.
Gupta, who was the coal secretary from 31 December, 2005 to November 2008, then joint secretary KS Kropha and then director KC Samaria in the MOC were held guilty by the court for irregularities in allocating the coal block to the firm.
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An independent prosecutor, appointed by the Supreme Court, on Tuesday differed with the CBI giving clean chit to ex-coal secretary HC Gupta and two officers in a coal scam case by telling a special court that they had "illegally allocated" coal blocks to a company.
The acts of former Coal Secretary HC Gupta and two other government officials overlooking the misrepresentation by Navbharat Power Pvt Ltd (NPPL) for getting coal block prima facie amounts to criminal misconduct, a special court on Wednesday said directing the CBI to further investigate the case.
The case pertains to alleged irregularities in allocation of Thesgora-B Rudrapuri coal block in Madhya Pradesh to KSSPL.