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Coalgate: SC DISMISSES plea against PM

Last updated on: October 29, 2013 18:28 IST

The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a plea seeking its direction to the Central Bureau of Investigation to name Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in its First Information Report filed against industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla and former Coal Secretary P C Parakh in a coal block allocation case.

"The probe is still going on and it is for the CBI officials to look into it," a bench headed by justice R M Lodha said when the petitioner submitted that the prime minister should also be questioned as he himself recently justified the decision taken by him as a coal minister to allocate the natural resources to Hindalco in which the FIR has been filed.

"You are reaching at the conclusion when the probe is going on," the bench, also comprising justices Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, said.

It also rejected another application seeking its direction to the Prime Minister to file an affidavit to make his stand clear on the allocation of coal blocks which has come under the CBI's scrutiny and the agency has filed the FIR.

The application, filed by advocate M L Sharma said, "Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was in direct charge of the coal ministry as the coal minister in 2005 and had decided to allot the coal block to various allottees including Hindalco."

Sharma, who was one of the petitioners on whose public interest litigation the apex court is monitoring the probe in coalgate, also sought court's direction to government to place before the bench all the recommendation letters written by various ministers in favour of private companies for allocation of blocks.

He said in his application that for the first time since the coal block allocation scam cropped up, the prime minister has explained about one allocation.

"But there have been more than 150 coal block allocations, so will he be able to explain all of them?" he said.

The Prime Minister’s Office had on October 19 defended the decision as appropriate" and said the prime minister had approved it on the basis of "merits" of the case placed before him.

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