Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has justified the allocation of a coal block to Aditya Birla Group company Hindalco, must be asked to explain through an affidavit the allocation of the remaining 140 coal blocks.

An application was filed on Monday by advocate Manohar Lal Sharma in the light of the Prime Minister’s Office issuing a statement justifying the allocation to Hindalco.

Mr. Sharma, main petitioner in the coal scam case, said: “For the first time since the … scam came to light, the Prime Minister has explained about one allocation. But there have been more than 150 coal block allocations, and only he will be able to explain all of them.”

Until now, the Centre, in its reply, had not stated anything about the true role of then Coal Minister [Dr. Singh] in the allocation… It had put the responsibility upon the screening committee, concealing the fact that the committee was nothing but an eyewash, and the allotments had in fact been done by the then Coal Minister himself, he said.

Quoting Dr. Singh’s statement, Mr. Sharma said: “It is a confession of the then Coal Minister to allot the coal block [to Hindalco], and he had taken a decision on the basis of the documents and facts submitted to him. Therefore, he must be called upon to file his affidavit before this court to make his position clear for suitable action pertaining to the FIR [against Aditya Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla and the former Coal Secretary, P.C. Parakh] and criminal action based upon such confession by the then coal minister.”

Mr. Sharma had filed an application against the CBI for filing the FRI against Mr. Birla and Mr. Parakh without including the name of Dr. Singh, who was Coal Minister at that time of the allotment to Hindalco.

He refuted the CBI’s statement that the allotment made by the screening committee was changed by the then Coal Secretary. Coal block allotments were not in the hands of the screening committee. He annexed copies of the letters written by various Ministers to the Coal Minister, requesting allocation to applicants. Though 14 FIRs were filed in the case, he apprehended that the Prime Minister had directed the CBI to file a defective FIR against Mr. Birla and Mr. Parakh so that they could escape criminal liability and the accused could get the FIR quashed.

He sought a direction to the Centre and the CBI to file all letters of recommendation issued by then Minister of State for Steel and other Ministers, MPs and MLAs and to file copies of the FIRs registered by the CBI. He sought a directive to the CBI to include the Prime Minister in the FIR registered on October 15.

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