Coal scam: Make Manmohan Singh an additional accused, says Rao

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Former minister of state for coal Dasari Narayan Rao was on 21 September questioned by CBI in connection with alleged irregularities in allocation of Talabira-II coal block in which Aditya Birla Group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla and former Coal Secretary PC Parakh are accused.

He appealed in a Special Court that former PM Manmohan Singh be also summoned as additional accused as the office of the then Prime Minister had allocated a coal block to Jindal group after examining and re-examining the matter.

Singh was the final authority in the allocation of coal blocks to the Jindals. He was the in charge of coal ministry at the time when allocations were made, said Rao.

Supporting former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda’s plea seeking summoning of Singh as additional accused in a coal block allocation scam case, Rao’s counsel told Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar that Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in Jharkhand was allotted to Naveen Jindal Group firms and the decision was taken by Singh.

“I am supporting the (Koda’s) application,” Rao’s counsel Satish Maneshinde told the court. “The coal minister was aware of everything and if at all there was a conspiracy, as CBI says, it can’t be complete without the knowledge of the minister,” Koda’s counsel told Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar.

Koda, Congress leader and industrialist Naveen Jindal and 13 others were chargesheeted by the CBI in the case earlier.

In his plea, Koda said, “The materials placed by CBI shows that the said conspiracy, if any, cannot be complete without the involvement of the coal minister (Singh) who had the final say in the entire allotment.”

Special Public Prosecutor RS Cheema told the court that he would advance arguments on Koda’s plea tomorrow. Koda is one of the 15 accused in the case.

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