New Delhi: Former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda, accused in a coal block allocation case, on Wednesday told a Delhi court that former prime minister Manmohan Singh was “aware of everything” in the process of allocating a coal block to Naveen Jindal’s firm.
Koda’s counsel told Special Judge Bharat Parashar that Manmohan Singh, who was holding coal portfolio that time, cannot take the defence that he was kept in the dark as he was aware of the entire process of allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in Jharkhand to Jindal Steel and Gagan Sponge.
“The coal minister (Manmohan Singh) was aware of everything and if at all there was a conspiracy, as CBI says, it cannot be complete without the knowledge of the coal minister,” Koda’s counsel submitted. The court has posted the matter for Thursday after Koda concluded his argument. The Central Bureau of Investigation will respond to Koda plea on Thursday.
Koda has filed a plea last month seeking summoning of Manmohan Singh in the case. In his plea, Koda said: “Materials placed by the CBI shows the said conspiracy, if any, cannot be complete without the involvement of the (then) coal minister (Manmohan Singh) who had the final say in the entire allotment.”
He also sought summoning of the then secretary (energy) Anand Swaroop and the then secretary (mines and geology) Jai Shankar Tiwari, saying they were part of the three-member sub-group formed by the Jharkhand government to evaluate the pleas of firms and suggest suitable application for recommendation by the state. The court was hearing a case related to the allocation of Jharkhand’s Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block to Jindal Steel and Gagan Sponge.
Congress leader Naveen Jindal, Koda, former union minister of state for coal Dasari Narayan Rao, former coal secretary H.C. Gupta and others have been named as accused in the case. They have been charge-sheeted for criminal conspiracy and cheating under the Prevention of Corruption Act.