Manmohan Singh moves SC against summons issued in coalgate

New Delhi: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today moved the Supreme Court against a special court order summoning him as accused in the case of allocation of Talabira-II coal block in Odisha in 2005 to Aditya Birla group company Hindalco.


Manmohan Singh

Hindalco Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla and former Coal Secretary P C Parakh, who were also summoned as accused in the case, have also filed petitions challenging the trial court order.

Singh has sought quashing of the summons issued to him to appear as an accused on April 8 by Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar on the ground that the order was passed without application of mind.

"There is complete non-application of mind," the petition said about the March 11 order. A team of senior advocates, led by Kapil Sibal, has settled Singh's petition which is likely to be mentioned for urgent hearing in a day or two.

One of the advocates, associated with the filing of the Special Leave Petition, said there are several other grounds to show that the summoning order was "bad in law".

The plea also said that there was nothing on record to point out that Singh has done any acts which may constitute any offence.

The former Prime Minister had only taken a decision as a competent authority on allocation of Talabira-II coal block to Hindalco on the representation of Odisha government, it said. The advocate said there may be a fault in decision making but there is no evidence to show that there was an abuse of power and moreover, taking a decision in government is not an offence.

The trial judge, on March 11, had said, "I am taking cognisance of offences under Sections 120B (conspiracy), 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant) of the IPC and under Sections 13(1)(c) and 13(1)(d)(3) of PCA against six accused, M/s Hindalco, Shubhendu Amitabh, D Bhattacharya, Kumar Mangalam Birla, P C Parakh and Dr Manmohan Singh."

Section 13(1)(c) of PCA relates to a public servant dishonestly misappropriating property entrusted to him or allowing any other person to do so. Section 13(1)(d)(3) relates to a public servant obtaining any pecuniary advantage for any person without any public interest.

Hindalco and its officials Subhendu Amitabh and D Bhattacharya have also filed similar petitions challenging the CBI judge order.

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