CBI may seek Manmohan’s ‘clarification’ in coal scam

The Central Bureau of Investigation may seek clarifications from former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as a witness for the investigation into the coal block allocations scam.

Top CBI sources told The Hindu on Sunday that some former officials of the Prime Minister’s Office were being examined and documents were being scrutinised, and the agency would approach Dr. Singh, if required.

The Supreme Court is monitoring the investigation. Dr. Singh held the charge of the Coal Ministry for almost five years from the time the United Progressive Alliance came to power in 2004. Several coal block allocations made during the period are under CBI scrutiny now.

Even as the Bharatiya Janata Party has been demanding Dr. Singh’s resignation ever since the Comptroller and Auditor-General’s report on the allocations was made public in 2012, Dr. Singh last year expressed his willingness to face a CBI investigation. The CAG has quantified an undue gain of about Rs. 1.86 lakh crore to private parties.

In one case of alleged irregularities in the allocation of the Talabira (Odisha) coal blocks to Hindalco, in which the CBI made former Coal Secretary P.C. Parakh an accused, the PMO had to issue a detailed statement in Dr. Singh’s defence last October.

Stressing that Dr. Singh was “satisfied” that the final decision was “entirely appropriate” and based “on the merits of the case placed before him”, the PMO said he had formally endorsed the Coal Ministry’s decision to overturn the 25th screening committee’s recommendation to accommodate Kumar Mangalam Birla’s company, which is also named by the CBI.

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Printable version | Aug 3, 2021 9:33:59 AM |

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