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Manmohan to be examined in Coal Blocks allocation case

While rejecting the CBI’s closure report on coal block allocation to Hindalco (an Aditya Birla Group company), Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar told the CBI, “I desire that the statements of then coal minister be recorded beside other officials.”

The court further ordered the agency to continue with their probe as it was observed some irregularities while allocating coal block involving top industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla’s company and former coal secretary P C Parakh in 2005. The agency was asked to record Singh’s statement, who was then the coal minister and the concerned officers were told to file a status report on January 27, 2015.

In October 2013, the CBI had registered a case in Coalgate, which has created a political uproar across the country. Embarrassed with the findings, former Prime Minister defended himself and issued a press statement which reads, “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.”

It was learnt that Singh’s statement will be recorded on the allocation process of Talabira-II and III coal blocks to Hindalco industries in 2005. “Then he was holding additional charge of the coal ministry and the court felt that his examination is required. We respect the court’s directive and soon Singh will be examined by our officers,” CBI sources said.

Earlier, on September 12, the court had reprimanded the CBI by questioning, what is the hurry in closing the case in which FIR was registered against Birla, Parakh and others? While sharply criticizing the agency (after CBI failed to submit all the documents), then the court said, “Get its house in order.”

The agency closed a case against Birla and former top bureaucrat PC Parakh that was part of the scandal dubbed ‘Coal-Gate’ which exploded in 2012 after CAG alleged 1.86 lakh crores had been lost because mining licenses had not been allotted through a transparent bidding process.

CBI has registered 20 FIRs related to coal block allocation scam between 2006 and 2009, between 1993 and 2004.

In August, the Supreme Court ruled that all coal blocks allocated by successive governments since 1993 are illegal. On September 24, in a landmark judgement, the apex revoked 214 coal blocks out of 218, allocated since 1993 and asked the concerned companies to wind up their operation by March 2015.
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