Coal scam: Court asks CBI to record Manmohan Singh`s statement

Former PM Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, Dec 16: A Special Court on Tuesday ordered the CBI to further investigate the coal scam case involving former coal secretary P C Parakh and industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla. The court also asked CBI to record the statement of Manmohan Singh, who was Coal Minister at that time.

Special Judge, who rejected the CBI’s closure report in the allotment of a coal block to Birla’s firm Hindalco, said: “I desire that statements of then coal minister (Manmohan Singh) be recorded,” and directed the CBI to file status report in the case on January 27.

Earlier in September, the court had asked the CBI to explain why it was in “such a hurry” to close the Hindalco case. It had also rebuked the probe agency to “get its house in order” as it was unable to come up with important documents and answers.

It may be noted that an FIR was lodged against industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla, former Coal Secretary P C Parakh and others in the allocation of Talabira II and III coal blocks in Odissa to Hindalco in 2005.

The CBI had to confront some tough questioning from the court which had asked why the agency failed to question former prime minister Manmohan Singh, who was also holding the coal portfolio between 2005 and 2009.

The court’s observations came after CBI submitted that though initially it felt Singh’s examination was required, later it was found to be not necessary.

In August, the Supreme Court had ruled that all coal blocks allocated by successive governments since 1993 are illegal.

(With Agency Inputs)

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