Examine Manmohan, court tells CBI

"I desire that statements of the then minister of coal (Manmohan Singh) be recorded besides other officials," the Special CBI Judge said

Updated - November 16, 2021 09:53 pm IST

Published - December 16, 2014 11:22 am IST - New Delhi

The CBI was on Tuesday directed by a special court to record statements of former prime minister Manmohan Singh, who was holding charge as Coal Minister in 2005, and others in a coal blocks allocation scam. File photo:R.V. Moorthy

The CBI was on Tuesday directed by a special court to record statements of former prime minister Manmohan Singh, who was holding charge as Coal Minister in 2005, and others in a coal blocks allocation scam. File photo:R.V. Moorthy

Observing that “a concerted effort was being made to manipulate the entire government machinery so as to protect the interest of M/s. Hindalco,’’ a Special Court here on Tuesday ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation to examine the then Coal Minister (former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh) on various aspects of allocation of a coal block to the private company in Orissa.

Dr. Singh was holding additional charge of the Coal Ministry at that time.

The CBI has sought closure of the case in which, among others, Aditya Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla and former Coal Secretary P.C. Parakh figure as accused. Hindalco is the metals flagship company of the Aditya Birla Group.

“I am of the considered opinion that before the matter is examined further as to what offence, if any, stands committed or by whom the same has been committed, it will be appropriate that the then Minister of Coal be first examined qua various aspects of the matter and also in the light of the observations made by this court in the present order,’’ Special Judge Bharat Parashar said in his order to further investigate the case.

The court also ordered examination of B.V.R. Subramanyam, then Private Secretary to the then Prime Minister, and re-examination of T.K.A. Nair, then Principal Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office. “…it will be appropriate if the investigating officer examines Sh. B.V.R. Subramanyam and re-examines Sh. T.K. Nair,’’ Mr. Parashar said.

Concurring with the Special Public Prosecutor in the case, R.S. Cheema, who opposed the probe agency’s decision to close the case in his argument on the closure report, Mr. Parashar said: “In fact, the submission of Ld. Special P.P. Sh. R.S. Cheema appears to be a logical conclusion flowing out not only from the various documents which were seized during the course of investigation but also from the manner in which the entire process was undertaken by the Ministry of Coal and the Prime Minister’s Office.”

The Judge also directed the investigating officer “to mention the present status of all the public servants involved in the entire allocation process, which led to the allocation of Talabira II Coal Block to M/s Hindalco.”

The court later directed the investigating officer to file a progress report on January 27, 2015.

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