New Delhi: A special court today dismissed the plea of ex-Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda seeking to summon former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as an additional accused in a coal scam case.
“The application moved by Madhu Koda is dismissed,” Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar said. The court had on September 28 reserved the order on Koda's plea after the agency had opposed it saying that there was no evidence which even prima facie suggests that Singh was part of any conspiracy in allocation of a coal block to Naveen Jindal Group firms.
CBI had argued in the court that the plea of Koda, who had sought summoning of Singh and two others as additional accused in the case, was “devoid of any merits” and that the records do not reflect that Singh, who held the Coal Portfolio at that time, had any complicity with any accused in any manner.
It had also said there was no evidence to show that Singh had acted in a “mechanical manner” in the entire process. Koda had alleged that CBI was trying to show there was no involvement of the then Prime Minister in the entire process.
His counsel had also said it cannot be said that the then PM was not aware of all the facts and if file of the matter was said to be routed through then Minister of State for Coal Dasari Narayan Rao, who is an accused, can it not be said that Singh was one of the conspirators.
The case pertains to alleged irregularities in allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block to Jindal group firms—
Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) and Gagan Sponge Iron Pvt Ltd (GSIPL).
Besides Singh, Koda had sought summoning of Anand Swaroop, then Secretary (Energy) and Jai Shankar Tiwari, then Secretary (Mines and Geology) as additional accused in the case.
Regarding Swaroop and Tiwari, CBI had told the court that they are important prosecution witnesses in the case and “rather it was Koda who had tinkered with recommendations”. Besides Koda and Rao, CBI had chargesheeted industrialist Naveen Jindal, former Coal Secretary H C Gupta and 11 others, including five firms, in the case.
Out of these accused, only Rao had supported Koda's plea. The court had summoned these 15 as accused saying that prima facie offences under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with sections 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant), 420 (cheating) of IPC read with sections 13(1)© and 13(1)(d) (criminal misconduct by a public servant) of the Prevention of Corruption Act were made out against them.