September 30th, 2016
Coal Scam: No Evidence Against Ex-PM Manmohan Singh
The plea of ex-Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda seeking to summon former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and two others as accused in a coal scam was opposed by CBI on Monday. Koda, who is one of the 15 accused, had sought to summon Manmohan Singh and two others — Anand Swaroop, then Secretary (energy), and Jai Shankar Tiwari, then Secretary (mines and geology) — as additional accused in the case. RS Cheema, a special public prosecutor, told the court that there were no records that indicate that the then PM, who was also the coal minister, was a part of any conspiracy in allocating coal block to Jindal Group Firms.
The two other persons whom Koda had summoned as additional accused are important prosecution witnesses as per agency, but there is no evidence to show that they conspired with anyone in the entire process. He said that CBI had conducted a thorough and comprehensive probe in the case and he did not find any reason in the summoning of the then PM as accused in the case. “To delay the present trial, the present application is being worked out. It will also deviate the court from the case.” Cheema told Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar, as reported by The Hindustan Times.
Koda’s plea was also supported by former Minister of State for Coal Dasari Narayan Rao. He also claimed that the then office of the prime minister had allocated a coal block to Jindal group after examining and reexamining the matter. Koda’s plea had contended that Singh allocated the coal blocks as he was the senior authority and he cannot escape the consequences of the decision. He has also claimed that any material placed by CBI cannot be completed without the involvement of the coal minister who had the final say in the entire allotment. Swaroop and Tiwari had specifically suggested withdrawal of recommendations made in favour of M/s Lanco Infratech and further infratech and further enhancement of shares of M/s JSPL from 30% to 70% as alleged by Koda on the evidence placed on record by CBI.
The other individuals accused in the case are Rajeev Jain, director of Jindal Realty Pvt Ltd; Girish Kumar Suneja and Radha Krishna Saraf, director of GSIPL; Suresh Singhal, New Delhi Exim Pvt Ltd; K Ramakrishna Prasad, managing director of Sowbhagya Media Ltd and Chartered Accountant Gyan Swaroop Garg. Besides the ten accused, five firms — Jindal Steel and Power Ltd, Jindal Realty Pvt Ltd, Gagan Infraenergy Ltd(Formerly known as GSIPL), Sowbhagya Media Ltd and New Delhi Exim Pvt Ltd — are also accused in the case.
Before any verdict, court had said that prima facie offences under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with Section 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant), 420 (cheating) of IPC with section 13(1)(c) and 13(1)(d) (criminal misconduct by a public servant) of the Prevention of Corruption Act were made out against them.