No evidence against ex-PM in coal scam case, CBI tells court
Arguing on the plea of former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda, who has sought summoning of Singh and two others as additional accused in a coal scam case, special public prosecutor R S Cheema said that the application was "devoid of any merits".
Cheema told Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar that records of the case do not reflect that Singh, who held the Coal Portfolio at that time, had any complicity with any accused in any manner and there was no evidence to show that he had acted in a "mechanical manner" in the entire process.
"The present application is a device worked out by accused person so as to not only delay the present trial but also deviate the court from the case," he said.
The prosecutor also said that a comprehensive and complete probe has been conducted by CBI in the case and the court did not find any fault in it while summoning 15 accused, including Koda, who were chargesheeted.
"The records not even prima facie show anything to summon the then Prime Minister as accused in the case. The evidence does not show any complicity on the part of the then Prime Minister in allocation of coal block," Cheema said.
"The application is devoid of any merits. Investigation in the case is comprehensive and complete in all respect. We find no reasons to summon additional accused in the case now," he said.
Cheema said that at that time when Manmohan Singh was also the Coal Minister every coal block allocation was "ultimately done" by his orders and accused cannot said that just because he had given the final approval so he should be made accused.
He said that as per CBI's case, government machinery in Jharkhand had colluded with other accused to ensure that coal block is allotted to Jindal Group firms and it would not be correct to say that Manmohan Singh had all the knowledge about what had happened in the state.
The court, after hearing the arguments, reserved its order on Koda's plea for October 16.
Meanwhile, Koda's counsel Anshuman Sinha opposed the CBI's contentions saying the agency was trying to show that there was no involvement of the then Prime Minister in the entire process.
Referring to the communication between then Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and Manmohan Singh in which Shinde had said that Bhushan Energy Ltd should also be considered for Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block, Sinha said it cannot be said that the then premier was not aware of all the facts.
"In this case, another ministry was communicating with the PM and he was responding to it also so CBI cannot say that the PM had only relied on the recommendations of the screening committee," he said.
He also said if file of the matter was said to be routed through the then MoS (coal), who is an accused, can it not be said that the then PM was one of the conspirators.
The case pertains to alleged irregularities in allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block to Jindal group firms -- Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) and Gagan Sponge Iron Pvt Ltd (GSIPL).
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