Coal scam: Congress defends former PM, says 'legal process will vindicate our stand'
Congress leader Manish Tewari on Wednesday said former prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh's legal team would take an appropriate call after examining the lower court's order in connection with the coal blocks allocation scam, adding that the latter has conducted himself with utmost probity and transparency.
New Delhi: Congress leader Manish Tewari on Wednesday said former prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh's legal team would take an appropriate call after examining the lower court's order in connection with the coal blocks allocation scam, adding that the latter has conducted himself with utmost probity and transparency.
Tewari said the Supreme Court, which examined the allocation of coal blocks from 1993 to 2009, did not pass even a whisper of a stricture against the former prime minister or any other functionary of the former UPA Government.
"If at all, a trial court has come to a certain conclusion, it would have to be seen as to what are the facts and circumstances which have warranted that conclusion. And more often that not, you have subordinate court decisions which are regularly challenged, which are stayed, overturned, quashed by superior courts. So, after examining the order of the lower court, we will take an appropriate call or former prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh's legal team would take an appropriate call," said Tewari.
"But I would like to unambiguously underscore and reiterate that the former government, the former prime minister conducted himself with utmost probity, utmost transparency. And time and the legal/judicial processes will vindicate our stand," he added.
Earlier in the day, a special CBI court summoned the former prime minister as an accused in a coal scam case.
Industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla, former coal secretary P C Parakh and three others were also summoned as accused.
The court summoned them for offences of criminal conspiracy, breach of trust and under provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.
They have all been asked to appear before the court on April 8.
In September 2005, Parakh recommended the allocation of the Talabira-II and Talabira-III coal blocks jointly to Hindalco, Mahanadi Coalfields and Neyveli Lignite. Hindalco is an Aditya Birla Group firm.
The-then prime minister, who was holding the additional charge of the Coal Ministry, had approved the proposal in October that year.
In October 2013, the CBI had filed an FIR in which it named Parakh and Birla for criminal conspiracy and criminal misconduct. The CBI had filed its closure report in the case in August 2014, citing lack of evidence of wrongdoing against the duo.
However, the Supreme Court had in September last year pulled up the CBI for being in a hurry to close the case. The investigating agency filed its revised report in October.
Later in November, the CBI said that it has enough material on record to take cognisance of the offences. However, the court asked the CBI as to why the former prime minister was not examined and in December directed the agency to record Manmohan Singh's statement.
In January this year, the CBI presented its status report after recording the statements of the former prime minister and his aides. The CBI sought two weeks to complete its investigation.