Coal Scam: Manmohan Singh in dock

Former PM of India, Mr. Manmohan Singh has been summoned in the Coal Block Allocation Scam, thereby adding to the woes of the Indian National Congress. There are no charges framed against him so far, but the summons can lead to a trial for the former PM. Coalgate and 3G were the two major scams which led to the downfall of UPA government in general elections 2014. The CBI court summoned Dr. Manmohan Singh, will be questioned on the alleged offences of criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust under IPC and criminal misconduct by a public servant under PCA.

The reasons for summons:

  • The special CBI Court observed that Ex-PM had made conscious efforts and taken extra interest to accommodate Aditya Birla Group flagship company Hindalco in the allocation of Talabira-II coal block, in 2005. Mr. Manmohan Singh also held the coal portfolio then.
  • Singh’s special inclination towards Hindalco can be seen in the fact that he allowed the reconsideration of allocation of Talabira II coal block even though he had given prior approval for the same in favour of Neyveli Lignite Corporation Limited as per minutes of 25th screening committee. In addition, PMO had taken an extra and undue interest in the matter by repeatedly calling coal ministry to speed-up the proceedings in view of letters from K M Birla. The caution that many of the approved guidelines were already relaxed as put forward by PMO officers, K V Pratap and Javed Usmani- was also ignored by PMO to approve the proposal put forth by P.C Parakh to Hindalco for Talabira II and III coal blocks.
  • Also, the request of Hindalco was not referred to the screening committee, which again points to the vested interests of PMO to a conscious effort to accommodate Hindalco and neglecting the right of NLC which is a Public sector undertaking. Latter decision, led to heavy losses for NLC and brought a huge profits in kitty of Hindalco. The action had no legal basis or logic.
  • Special judge Bharat Parashar  who issued summons to all accused, held Mr. Manmohan Singh and P.C. Parakh under substansive offence under Section 409 (criminal breach of trust by a public official) due to the public office they both held at the time of the

The Coalgate scam made headlines in 2012 when the report of the exchequer declared a loss of INR 1.86 trillion as a result of secret manipulations between politicians and private firms. Most of the allocations were reversed by the Supreme Court as it ruled the procedures were not followed.  The current situation will be enough for BJP to re-label  Congress as a corrupt party.

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