Supreme Court stays summons to former PM Manmohan Singh in coal scam case

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Manmohan Singh

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed the summons to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, five others by a Delhi court in connection with the money-spinning coal scam.

Singh’s daughters were present in the court for the hearing.

In March, a special CBI court had summoned Singh as an accused in the Coalgate scam, a significant development that sent shockwaves in the political fraternity.

The case pertains to the allocation of Talabira II coal block (in Orissa) to Hindalco in 2005 and involves industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla, who, along with former coal secretary P.C. Parakh, have also been summoned as accused.

The court had noted that Dr Singh chose to keep the coal portfolio with him and “prima facie he cannot claim that being the Prime Minister he could not be expected to personally look into the minute details of each and every case”.

It said the “omission” of not referring the request of Hindalco to the screening committee in accordance with established procedure showed that it was a “conscious decision” by the accused to accommodate Hindalco in a joint coal block comprising Talabira-II and Talabira-III coal blocks.

Upset over the summons, Dr Singh had earlier said that he was open to legal scrutiny in the matter.

“I hope in a fair trial I will prove my innocence,” said 83-year-old Dr Singh. “I am sure the truth will prevail and I will get a chance to put forward my case,” Dr Singh had said.

Singh was supposed to appear before the court on April 8.

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