NEW DELHI: Silence may be one of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s salient characteristics, but he may be forced to break it this time.
A special CBI court on Tuesday directed the investigating agency to examine Singh in the case of Talabira II coal block allocation to Hindalco when he held the additional charge of coal minister.
Special judge Bharat Parashar sent the case back to the CBI for further investigation after it filed a closure report in the case.
The court observed that documents recovered during the probe, taken together with the fact that industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla had met Singh, former coal secretary P C Parakh and others and had also written two letters to Singh showed that a concerted effort was being made to manipulate the entire system.
“Thus if in the light of the aforesaid documents recovered, the subsequent meetings coupled with the two letters dated May 7, 2005, and June 17, 2005, written by him to the Prime Minister requesting for allocation of Talabira-II coal block, then it is found that a concerted effort was being made to manipulate the entire government machinery so as to protect the interest of M/s Hindalco,” the court said.
The court, however, clarified that there cannot be any objection if the head of a leading industrial house met the Prime Minister or other top officials “but when such meetings are seen in the overall facts and circumstances as mentioned above and coupled with the follow-up action that resulted at the administrative level in the government then it certainly raises eyebrows.”
Besides Singh, the court also directed that BVR Subramanyam and TKA Nair, then working in secretarial positions in the Prime Minister’s Office be re-examined. The judge then fixed the date for filing of progress report in the investigation as January 27.