Coal scam: Was not permitted to examine Manmohan, CBI tells court

Updated - November 16, 2021 09:53 pm IST

Published - November 25, 2014 10:51 am IST - New Delhi

A special court here dealing with the coal block allocation cases on Tuesday asked the Central Bureau of Investigation why former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was not questioned as a prosecution witness in a case involving erstwhile Coal Secretary P.C. Parakh and Adiyta Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla.

Dr. Singh was then in charge of the Coal Ministry.

Special Judge Bharat Parashar questioned the investigating officer who submitted that “though initially his [PM] examination was found necessary, later on, the investigating agency found it was not required.” The officer said that though he had examined certain officers of the Prime Minister’s Office, the then Coal Minister was not questioned. He said the accused were questioned, but their statements were kept only in the case diary and the crime file. Later, Mr. Parashar asked the investigating officer to produce the “case diary and the crime file.”

The case will now come up for hearing on November 27.

The CBI had earlier sought closure of the case. However, when the Special Judge pulled it up for filing a patchy probe report, it filed a revised one and took a U-turn, stating that “there is prima facie enough material on record” to prosecute Mr. Parakh and Mr. Birla.

The case pertains to the allocation of coal blocks to Hindalco, owned by the Aditya Birla Group, allegedly in violation of rules.

The CBI last year lodged an FIR against Mr. Parakh, Mr. Birla and others, alleging that Mr. Parakh had reversed his earlier decision not to allocate coal blocks to Hindalco and shown undue favour to it.

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