New Delhi: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was aware of all aspects of the process of allocation of a coal block to Naveen Jindal’s firm, ex-Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda told a special court on Wednesday. Koda, who has sought summoning of Manmohan Singh as an accused, said if there was any conspiracy in the allocation of the Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in Jharkhand to the Jindal group, it could not have been without the knowledge of the then Prime Minister who was also the coal minister at that time.
“The coal minister (Singh) was aware of everything and if at all there was a conspiracy, as CBI says there was, it cannot be complete without the knowledge of the coal minister,” Koda’s counsel told Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar. The lawyer also argued that Singh cannot take the plea that he was not in the loop on all aspects of the entire process. He said that according to CBI, the then minister of state for coal, Dasari Narayan Rao, who is also an accused in the case, wanted the coal block to be allocated to the Jindal group but “actually the man behind this was the Prime Minister who approved it”.
Koda’s counsel has concluded his arguments to which senior public prosecutor V K Sharma would respond on Friday. Koda, in his plea, has sought to summon Singh as an accused along with Anand Swaroop, the then Secretary (Energy), and Jai Shankar Tiwari, the then Secretary (Mines and Geology), contending that CBI’s theory of conspiracy remains incomplete without the involvement of the then Prime Minister who was also holding the portfolio of Coal Ministry. He said Singh being the final authority in allocation of coal blocks cannot escape from the consequences of his decision. The case pertains to alleged irregularities in allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block to two Jindal group companies, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd and Gagan Sponge Iron Pvt Ltd. Koda, Congress leader and industrialist Naveen Jindal and 13 others were chargesheeted by the CBI in the case earlier.