National

Court hits out at CBI for not examining Manmohan in Coalgate

New Delhi, Nov 25:  A Special Court on Tuesday pulled up the CBI over the coalgate asking why former prime minister Manmohan Singh was not examined since he was in charge of the coal ministry in addition to the PM in 2005 when the deal was final with a Kumarmangalam Birla company in illegal way.

"Do not you think examination of the then coal minister was necessary in the matter? Do not you feel the need to examine him? Do not you think his statement was necessary to present a clear picture?" Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar asked the CBI.

The CBI told the court that the PMO officials were examined during the investigation and they did not find it necessary to examine the then coal minister. However, they were not allowed to examine him.

"PMO officials were examined. The then minister of coal was not examined in light of the statement of PMO officials," the Investigating Officer of CBI said, adding "the then coal minister was not permitted to be examined. It was found that his statement was not necessary".

Manmohan was holding the coal ministry when Hindalco Industries, a company of Birla, was allocated coal blocks in Talabira II & III of Odisha in 2005. PC Parakh was the secretary to the coal ministry.

During the hearing, the court directed CBI to file the case diary, in a sealed cover as requested by Senior Public Prosecutor VK Sharma.

On October 21, the agency had filed a revised final closure report in the case.

The CBI had filed a case against Birla, Parakh and others in October last year, alleging that Parakh had reversed his decision to reject coal block allocation to Hindalco within months "without any valid basis or change in circumstances" and shown "undue favours".

The FIR relates to allocation of Talabira II and III coal blocks in Odisha in 2005.

The CBI had booked Birla, Parakh and other Hindalco officials under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including criminal conspiracy and criminal misconduct on the part of government officials.

The agency had alleged that during the 25th Screening Committee meeting, chaired by Parakh, applications of Hindalco and and its unit Indal Industries for mining in Talabira II and III were rejected "citing valid reasons".

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