The coal scam scandal is getting murkier day by day. In a latest move the ex-Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda’s plea seeking summoning of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and two others as additional accused in a coal scam case will be heard on September 2, a Special Court said.Former MP Naveen Jindal and others were earlier chargesheeted by CBI in the case.
Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar also posted the matter for arguments on framing of charges in the case from October 5 to October 8 after all the accused said that scrutiny of documents filed along with the charge sheet was complete.
During the hearing, the counsel appearing for former Coal Secretary HC Gupta also moved an application seeking dropping of proceedings against him on account of lack of sanction to try him for the alleged offences in the case.
The court fixed Gupta’s application for hearing on September 3. As soon as the proceedings commenced, Gupta’s counsel moved the application, saying it should be heard before arguments on framing of charges as the matter involves legal issues.
Koda’s counsel also said that his plea for summoning the former Prime Minister, who was also the Coal Minister at that time, and two others as additional accused in the case, should be heard before the stage of arguments on framing of charges.
Initially the court asked both the defence counsel that they can advance their arguments on their respective pleas simultaneously with the arguments on charges but the advocates said that their matters should be heard first.
“In view of the submissions made by the defence counsel, the matter is now adjourned for arguments on applications moved by accused no 8 (Koda) and 9 (Gupta) for September 2 and 3 and the matter thereafter be fixed for arguments on framing of charges from October 5 to 8,” the judge said.
Jindal, Koda, Gupta and 12 others were chargesheeted by CBI in a case pertaining to alleged irregularities in allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in Jharkhand to two Jindal group companies, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) and Gagan Sponge Iron Private Ltd (GSIPL).
Koda, in his application, has sought summoning of the former Prime Minister as an accused in the case by submitting before the court that the “ultimate final authority” could not be allowed to go “scot-free” without facing trial.