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Coal scam: Court dimisses Koda’s plea to summon Manmohan Singh

A special court on Friday refused to summon former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as an accused in a coal scam case, observing that sufficient evidence was not there to call him and held ex-Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda’s plea in this regard as “devoid of any merits”.

Dismissing Koda’s plea in which he had sought summoning of Singh and two others as additional accused in the case, the court said that averments made in the application were “self contradictory in nature”.

Referring to a Supreme Court verdict in which apex court had discussed the role and position of the Prime Minsiter, the court said that seeking summoning of Singh as PM has to be seen from a completely different yard stick.

“Thus, I am of the considered opinion that seeking summoning of Dr Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister has to be seen from a completely different yard stick, then seeking his summoning as a Minister,” Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar said.

“Though one may argue that summoning of Dr Mammohan Singh as Minister of Coal should be considered but as already mentioned by me that at this stage of the matter I do not find sufficient evidence warranting his summoning as an accused in the present case,” the judge said in his 23-page order.

“Accordingly, the present application being devoid of any merits is hereby dismissed,” the court said.

It, however, clarified that if during the course of trial, sufficient evidence warranting summoning of any other public servant or private person comes on record “then the law will certainly take its own course.”

Besides Singh, Koda had sought summoning of then officials of Jharkhand Government Anand Swaroop, then Secretary (Energy) and Jai Shankar Tiwari, then Secretary (Mines and Geology), as additional accused in the case.

Regarding Swaroop and Tiwari, the court said it did not find any prima facie case to summon them as accused.

“…I may state at the threshold itself that in the facts and circumstances of the present case, this court does not find any prima facie case to summon Dr Manmohan Singh…Jai Shankar Tiwari and Anand Swaroop as accused,” the judge said.

The case pertains to alleged irregularities in allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block to Naveen Jindal group firms — Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) and Gagan Sponge Iron Pvt Ltd (GSIPL).

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