Published On : Mon, Sep 28th, 2015

CBI gives Manmohan Singh a clean chit in coal scam, sees no reason for summoning him

India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh smiles in New Delhi

NEW DELHI: In a major relief to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday virtually gave him a clean chit in the coal scam by telling a court that the records of the case not even prima facie suggest that the then PM, who was also coal minister at that time, was part of any conspiracy in allocating coal block to Jindal Group companies.

The virtual clean chit to Singh came after the CBI opposed in the special court the plea of ex-Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda seeking summoning of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and two others as additional accused in a coal-scam case, saying the application was “devoid of any merits”.

Special public prosecutor RS Cheema told the court that “The present application is a device worked out by accused person so as to not only delay the present trial but also deviate the court from the case.”

Cheema told special CBI judge Bharat Parashar that a comprehensive and complete probe has been conducted by CBI in the case and they do not find any reason which would lead to summoning of the then PM as accused in the case. “The records not even prima facie show anything to summon the then Prime Minister as accused in the case. The evidence does not show any complicity on the part of the then Prime Minister in allocation of coal block,” Cheema said.

Regarding the two other people, whom Koda had sought to summon as additional accused in the case, the agency said that these two people are important prosecution witnesses and there was no evidence to show that they conspired with anyone in the entire process.

The court, after hearing the submissions, reserved its order on Koda’s plea for October 16.

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.

Earlier, former minister of state for coal Dasari Narayan Rao had supported Koda’s plea for summoning of Manmohan Singh while claiming that the office of the then Prime Minister had allocated a coal block to Jindal group after examining and re-examining the matter.