Coalgate: Politicians react to summons issued to former PM Manmohan Singh as accused

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March 11, 2015

New DELHI – Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla, ex-coal secretary PC Parakh and three others were today summoned as accused by a special court in a coal scam case pertaining to allocation of Talabira-II coal block in Odisha in 2005 and asked to appear before it on April 8.

March 11, 2015

New DELHI – Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla, ex-coal secretary PC Parakh and three others were today summoned as accused by a special court in a coal scam case pertaining to allocation of Talabira-II coal block in Odisha in 2005 and asked to appear before it on April 8.

Former Indian Prime Minister: Manmohan Singh

Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar summoned the six accused on April 8 for the alleged offences punishable under Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant, or by banker, merchant or agent) of the IPC and under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA).

Extremely upset with the summons issued to him in connection with the coal blocks allocation scam, former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said that the truth will prevail in the case. "Of course, I am upset, but this is a part of life. I am sure that truth will prevail and I will get a chance to put forward my case with facts," he told the media in Parliament.

Reactions poured in from various politicians.

Janata Dal (United) chief Sharad Yadav on Wednesday said the law will take its own course in the coal blocks allocation scam case, but added that an honest former prime minister like Manmohan Singh should have monitored the process to check if something was going wrong at the lower level in his government. “The law will do its work. It is not a big deal,” Yadav told ANI here. “Manmohan Singh is an honest person, but if something was going wrong at the lower level, he should have seen it,” he added.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Majid Memon on Wednesday said one has to see the contents of the orders as to how the court thought that it is satisfied with regard to the prima facia case against former prime minister Manmohan Singh in the coal scam case, adding that there is every opportunity open to the proposed accused persons to question it.

Memon said the proposed accused, who has been summoned belatedly by the orders of the court, has all the rights to challenge this issue. “In fact, we will have to see the contents of the orders as to how the learned court thought that it is satisfied with regard to the prima facia case against the former prime minister ,” Memon told ANI here. “Definitely this is a matter of concern where political fallout apart legally there is every opportunity open to the proposed accused persons to question it in the High Court or even appear before the trial court,” he added.

Supreme Court advocate and Rajya Sabha MP KTS Tulsi on Wednesday expressed ‘surprise’ over the summons issued to Singh, opining that there was no evidence against the economist for the same. “It is quite surprising because according to whatever knowledge I have, there was no material against him except that he had conceded the request of the chief minister of Odisha, who said that this is a number one project in the state and is going to provide maximum employment. On that basis, the letter of recommendation was forwarded by Manmohan Singh,” Tulsi told the media.

“It is beyond my comprehension as to how this can constitute an offence in upholding the basic feature of the federal structure of the Constitution of India,” he added.

Congress leader M Veerappa Moily on Wednesday said an innocent former prime minister Manmohan Singh will give a reply to the summons issued to him in connection with the coal blocks allocation scam. “The court has the full liberty to summon anyone. We know very well that Dr. Manmohan Singh is totally innocent. He will give a reply. There is no problem. I don’t think one should need to become panic,” he said.

Senior Samajwadi Party leader Ramgopal Yadav on Wednesday said the court’s decision to issue summons to former prime minister Manmohan Singh in connection with the coal blocks allocation scam was not correct. “The step taken the court is not correct. I disagree with the court’s decision to issue summons (to him). If anybody sitting on a top level takes any decision it does mean that there is his involvement in it,” he told the media here.

Former union minister and Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Wednesday said that he was saddened by the summons and added that a man who always wanted to be on the right side of the law, has found himself in such a spot. “The law has to take its course and we respect the law and the majesty of the law. But a citizen also has constitutional rights, his right to life and liberty and the procedures as envisaged under the law gives rights to citizens and those rights will be protected by us. I am, of course, personally saddened by the fact that summons have been issued to a Prime Minister,” Sibal told the media here. “In fact, he was extremely cautious as and when an issue came up. He said that we should always be on the right side of the law. So, a man who always wanted to be on the right side of the law, has found himself summoned by court. But, we will of course see it,” he added.

Sibal, however, downplayed media queries of a political vendetta in the entire episode. “I don’t want to raise any questions and don’t want to level any sort of allegations. But I would like to say that the Prime Minister used to take decisions taking into consideration the nation’s future,” he said.

All India Trinamool Congress leader Dinesh Trivedi on Wednesday said that personal integrity and responsibility of the Prime Minister are two different things. “One is the personal integrity and the second is that how responsible you are as the PM and a minister in whichever department because at that point of time only your personal integrity is not enough, at that point in time you have got to be a soldier guarding the borders of the country,” Trivedi told ANI here.

Trivedi asserted the fact that you have to forget the party and the party bosses when you are the Prime Minister. “If you are at the top and you did not know what was happening, that was bad enough, and then you are not capable of remaining there. But if you are at the top, and if you knew what was happening, may be you are not the beneficial yourself, then that’s even worse,” he added. Trivedi also said that Manmohan Singh needs to answer on both counts.


Courtesy: PTI / DNA