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“I will be able to establish my complete innocence”

Posted in S. Asia


Published on March 13, 2015 with No Comments

After a special CBI court summoned him over charges of criminal conspiracy and corruption in the award of a coal field to Hindalco Industries in 2005, former Prime Minister of India  Manmohan Singh  said the truth would prevail. The Congress also backed him reiterating that the allocation in question — 15 per cent share to Hindalco in Talavira I and II coal blocks of Odisha – was transparent.

“Of course I am upset but this is part of life.I respect the judicial process and hope that in any fair trial I will be able to establish my complete innocence,” Singh told mediapersons outside the Rajya Sabha where the Congress-led opposition blocked the Coal Mines Special Provisions Bill, 2015, that seeks to amend old laws to allow private firms to mine coal for sale in open markets.

When asked if former PM would appear in the court as summoned on April 8, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, “Reserving his legal rights, Dr Singh will definitely participate in the legal proceedings.” Singh may move higher court for stay on the summons.

Former Law Minister Kapil Sibal said, “We will fully back Dr Singh. We are sure the legal process will vindicate him. No one can question his rectitude.”The Congress officially maintained that the development was part of the BJP’s conspiracy to deflect people’s attention from the controversial land Bill which is facing opposition’s wrath in Parliament.

The problem in the allocation is – PSUs Mahanadi Coalfield and Neyvelli Lignite were also contending for the same block with the court today saying the then UPA government under Singh showed undue interest in accommodating Hindalco. The Congress has maintained that “nothing wrong happened”.

The said allocation is one of the 265 cancelled by the Supreme Court last year in the Rs 1.83 lakh crore Coalgate scam revealed by CAG.

Welcoming the court’s move, original petitioner in the scam BJP leader Hansraj Ahir said he hoped more VIPs would be held accountable in the matter. Environment minister Prakash Javadekar said the BJP stand had been vindicated.

The SC had cancelled allocations saying these were non transparent having been made through the steering committee under the Coal Ministry and not auctions.


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