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Coal scam: CBI likely to question Naveen Patnaik

Since, Centre has maintained that the coal block allocation had been made on the basis of the state government’s recommendation, the probe agency needs to investigate the role of Patnaik, especially after being reprimanded by Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar for not examining the former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

On Tuesday, while rejecting the CBI’s closure report on coal block allocation to Hindalco (an Aditya Birla Group company), the Special CBI Judge told CBI, “I desire that the statements of then coal minister be recorded beside other officials.” Sensing that court might ask them to examine Naveen, the CBI is now considering seeking his reply on the issue. Sources said, “We will have to discuss the matter with the concerned investigating officer and a formal approval from our chief before going ahead with the proposal,” CBI sources said.

Speaking to Millennium Post, BJP’s Odisha unit president KV Singhdeo said, “We want that Patnaik should be examined because he has recommended the allocation of Talabira II coal block to Hindalco.”

He said, “If former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh can be examined then why not Patnaik. He should also be interrogated by the CBI. He cannot get away by saying he had recommended the coal block allocation in the interest of the state.”

Reacting to the demand, BJD spokesperson Pratap Keshari Deb said that it was not proper to demand questioning of the CM.

In October 2013, the CBI had registered a case in Coalgate, which has created a political uproar across the country. Then, embarrassed with the findings, former Prime Minister defended himself and issued a press statement stating, “I am satisfied that the final decision taken in this regard was entirely appropriate and is based on the merits of the case placed before him.”

So far CBI has registered 45 cases against Union ministers, MPs and former ministers of state and central government. The information was shared in Lok Sabha by MoS for DoPT Jitendra Singh in a written reply to a member’s question. “CBI has registered, during the last three years and up to October 31, a total of 45 cases against central government ministers, MPs and ex-ministers of state and central government,” Singh said. Out of 45 cases, 25 are under trial and 14 being probed. Five cases have been closed by CBI and in one case, it has appealed against the court order, the minister further said in his reply.

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