No evidence against ex-PM in coal scam: CBI

No evidence against ex-PM in coal scam: CBI

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday said there was “no evidence” against former prime minister Manmohan Singh to suggest that he was part of conspiracy in the allocation of coal blocks to Naveen Jindal companies as it opposed a plea for summoning him in the case.

The agency told the Special CBI court, which was hearing the plea of former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda, that the records of the case do not show that Singh had any motive. There was “no evidence” to show that he had acted in a “mechanical manner” in the entire process, the CBI said.

“There is no evidence which even prima facie suggests that the then PM had any complicity in coal block allocation to Jindal Group firms,” Special Public Prosecutor R S Cheema told the court. Singh was holding Coal portfolio when the coal allocations took place.

The court, after hearing the arguments, reserved its order for October 16.

Cheema claimed that the plea was an attempt of the accused to delay the ongoing trial. He also pointed out that the court did not find any fault with it in the investigation while summoning 15 accused, including Koda, who were chargesheeted. The CBI said at that time when Singh was the Coal minister every coal block allocation was “ultimately done” by his orders, but the accused cannot say that the former prime minister should be made an accused just because he gave the final approval.

According to CBI’s case, the government machinery in Jharkhand had colluded with other accused to ensure that coal block was allotted to Jindal Group firms. Cheema said it would not be proper to say that Singh had all the information about what had happened in the state.

He said that as per these statements given by then PMO officials, Singh had relied on the recommendation of the screening committee — the high-powered panel. Koda’s counsel Anshuman Sinha opposed the CBI arguments saying it was trying to show that there was no involvement of Singh.

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