Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was summoned to appear as an accused in a coal scam case by a special court after his name came in the scam.
The judge of the special court, Bharat Parashar summoned the 83 years old former Prime Minister, ex-coal secretary PC Parakh and four others. The judge said, “Some acts of their omission and commission, though not all, show their complicity in the conspiracy.”
The judge has considered the final report of the Central Bureau of Investigation in the case and has directed Singh and other accused to appear before his court on April 8 to answer all the charges made on by CBI of criminal conspiracy breaching trust and corruption.
Others who were summoned apart from the former Prime Minister, are Chairman of Aditya Birla Group, Kumar Mangalam Birla;Hindalco, which I s part of the group; and two of its officials, namely, D Bhattacharya and Shubhendy Amitabh.
Before Manmohan Singh, it was Narsimha Rao, who was the first former PM who faced the trial. Though he was finally exonerated but the legacy was damaged.
In a report, Manmohan Singh has said that he was open to legal scrutiny and the Congress also defended him, saying his “integrity, fairness, impartiality and adherence to transparency remains unquestionable”.
The judge of special court said that the former PM could not take the plea that he, as the PM, could not be expected to”look into the minute details of each and every case placed before him”. He further said that the former PM cannot claim ignorance as he held the coal portfolio between 2004 and 2009.
Disappointed with the court’s order, Manmohan Singh Said, “I have always said that I am open to legal scrutiny…I am sure the truth will prevail and I will get a chance to put forward my case with all the facts. I hope, in a fair trial, I will prove my innocence.”
On the other hand, Hindalco made a statement that, “none of its officials, including its chairman Kumar Managalam Birla, have pursued any unlawful or inappropriate means for securing the allocation of the coal block.” The statement further added that it had “cooperated with the investigating authorities completely during the course of investigation since October 2013” and that the company’s management was confident that it would stand vindicated.
Parakh who was also surprised at the summons said that the “Court has its own method of working”.
CII said that the courts summon to the top persons would “create an atmosphere of uncertainty and send a wrong signal to investors”.