CBI pulled up for not questioning Manmohan

CBI pulled up for not questioning Manmohan

A special court on Tuesday fired a volley of tough questions at the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the coal scam case, asking why the agency did not question former prime minister Manmohan Singh, who was holding charge of Coal Ministry between 2005 and 2009.

The court’s questions came during hearing of the case in which business tycoon Kumaramangalam Birla, former coal secretary P C Parakh and others relating to allocation of Talabira II and III coal blocks in Odisha to Hindalco in 2005. Singh was coal minister when the allocation was made.

The Investigating Officer told the court during the hearing that “the coal minister was not permitted to be examined”. He informed the court that PMO officials were examined and then the minister was not examined in the light of the statement of PMO officials.

“It was found that his statement was not necessary,” the IO said. However, Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar asked the IO, “Don’t you think examination of the then coal minister was necessary in the matter? Didn’t you feel the need to examine him? Don’t you think his statement was necessary to present a clear picture?”  At the end of the hearing, the court summoned the case diary and crime file in a sealed cover and posted the matter for November 27.

Earlier during the hearing, the IO also told the court that during the probe, then PMO officials, T K A Nair and Javed Usmani, were examined by the agency in connection with the case.

To this, the judge asked the IO, “Did you examine the witnesses personally or you had send questionnaire to them?”

The CBI on October 15 last year registered a case alleging that Birla and others entered into a criminal conspiracy for allocating Talabira II and Talabira III coal blocks. The registration of the case saw angry reaction from the corporate world and bureaucrats.
DH News Service

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