Coal scam: CBI may soon record statements of Manmohan Singh

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New Delhi, Jan 3: Days after a trial court asked CBI to examine former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the case of of Talabira II coal block allocation to Hindalco when he was also Coal Minister in 2005. Singh is likely to be examined by the premier investigating agency in a few days.

Singh will be reportedly questioned on the lines of eligibility criteria of the company for getting coal block even after being rejected by the screening committee.

Coal scam: CBI may soon examine Manmohan

Earlier last month, sending the matter back to CBI for further investigation after it had filed a closure report in the case, Special Judge Bharat Parashar had said it would be "appropriate" that the then Coal Minister be "first examined" regarding various aspects of the matter.

"....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 (Manmohan Singh) be first examined qua various aspects of the matter and also in light of the observations made by this court in the present order," the judge said.

Besides Manmohan Singh, the court also said that some top officers, who were working in Prime Minister's Office (PMO) at that time and were concerned with the process of allocation of coal block to HINDALCO, were "either not examined or were not properly examined" by the agency.

"BVR Subramanyam, who was PS to the Prime Minister, has not been examined and TKA Nair, who was working as Principal Secretary in the PMO, though, has been examined by way of a questionnaire but towards the end he refused to answer some of the questions expressing his inability that he was not in a frame of mind of answering further questions," it said.

"Thus, it will be appropriate if the IO (investigating officer) examines BVR Subramanyam and re-examines T K A Nair," the judge said in his 50-page order and fixed the case for filing of progress report of further probe on January 27.

The case pertains to allocation of Talabira II coal block in Orissa to M/s HINDALCO. The CBI had earlier lodged an FIR against Kumar Mangalam Birla, former Coal Secretary P C Parakh, M/s HINDALCO Industries Ltd and other unknown persons and officials for the offence under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The CBI, however, had later filed a closure report in the case on August 27 this year opining that no criminal offence was committed by any of the persons involved in the entire process of allocation of Talabira-II coal block to HINDALCO.

(With inputs from PTI)

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