Coal scam: Court to hear Hindalco’s case on May 23

A special court today fixed May 23 for hearing a coal scam case in which the Supreme Court has stayed summons against former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla and others.

Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar deferred the matter as operation of its order summoning Singh, Birla and others as accused in the case, has been stayed by the apex court.

The special court had on December 16 last year refused to accept CBI’s closure report in the case and directed it to further probe the matter and examine Singh, who was also holding coal portfolio at that time, and other PMO officials.

CBI had later filed a supplementary final report in the court, which had on March 11 summoned as accused Singh, Birla, former Coal Secretary P C Parakh, Hindalco Industries Ltd and its two top officials Shubhendu Amitabh and D Bhattacharya in the case pertaining to alleged irregularities in allocation of Talabira-II coal block in Odisha in 2005.

The Supreme Court had on April 1 stayed the trial court order summoning them as accused and the proceedings before it.

In his plea in the apex court, Singh had contended that the trial court had exceeded its jurisdiction by attributing criminality in administrative decisions of the Prime Minister.

The plea had said that trial court’s decision to summon the former Prime Minister was a “grave mistake both in law” and in “understanding of evidence”.

The special court had, in its March 11 order, said it was prima facie clear that “there was a concerted joint effort” by Parakh and Singh to “somehow accommodate M/s Hindalco in Talabira-II, coal block.”

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