Former Minister of State for Coal Dasari Narayan Rao today sought summoning of Manmohan Singh, claiming in a Special Court that the office of the then Prime Minister had allocated a coal block to Jindal group after examining and re-examining the matter.
Supporting ex-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 the then Prime Minister who was also the Coal Minister at that time.
“I am supporting the (Koda’s) application,” Rao’s counsel Satish Maneshinde told the court.
He said it was the Prime Minister’s Office which had examined and re-examined the issue of allocation of coal block and then decided to allocate it to the Jindal Group firms.
Senior advocate S V Raju, who appeared for former MP and industrialist Naveen Jindal, told the court that he neither supported nor opposed Koda’s plea to summon Manmohan Singh and two others as additional accused in the case.
He, however, said that any order passed by the court on Koda’s application should not prejudice the rights of the accused to seek discharge from the case.
“However, it is submitted that any order passed in the present application should not prejudice the rights of accused no. 7 (Jindal) including his right to seek discharge at the time of arguments on charge,” the brief written submission filed by Raju said.
Similarly, most of the co-accused in the case adopted the arguments advanced by Jindal’s counsel.
Special Public Prosecutor R S Cheema told the court that he would advance arguments on Koda’s plea tomorrow.
The case pertains to alleged irregularities in allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block to Jindal group firms — Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) and Gagan Sponge Iron Pvt Ltd (GSIPL).
Koda, who is one of the 15 accused in the case, had moved an application seeking to summon Manmohan Singh and two others — Anand Swaroop, then Secretary (Energy), and Jai Shankar Tiwari, then Secretary (Mines and Geology)– as additional accused in the case.