Coal case: Manmohan’s appeals in SC not to be heard on Sept 21

Tuesday, Sep 15, 2015,20:20 IST By metro vaartha A A A

New Delhi | The Supreme Court today ordered deletion from its list of business of September 21 the batch of appeals filed by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and others in a case of coal block allocation in which he was summoned as an accused by the trial court.
These items are deleted from the list, a bench of Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justice Arun Mishra said when a battery of senior lawyers led by Kapil Sibal sought dropping of the matter from list of cases coming up before the court on September 21.
The bench said that these appeals will be taken up for hearing after they are mentioned before the court. With today’s order, the stay on proceedings in the trial court by the apex court may also get extended. The deletion assumes significance as a special bench had recently refused to grant interim relief to former Minister of State for Coal, Santosh Bagrodia, in another coal scam case and had indicated that it might take up his petition very shortly along with the plea of the former Prime Minister.
When senior lawyer K K venugopal, appearing for Bagrodia, had sought exemption from personal appearance before the trial court on the ground of parity, the special bench had denied the relief saying that his plea would be shortly taken up in 10 to 12 days along with that of Singh’s petition. The bench had also said earlier that it may dismiss both the petitions.
Sibal today told the bench headed by the CJI that the appeal filed by the former Prinme Minister, who was also holding the Coal portfolio then, has raised several important issues. The apex court had on April one stayed the trial court order summoning former PM as accused in a coal block allocation case and the proceedings before it.
The relief was also extended to Hindalco Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla, whose company was granted Talabira-II coal block in Odisha in 2005, former Coal Secretary P C Parakh, two Hindalco officials Shubhendu Amitabh and D Bhattacharya and the company itself.
While staying trial court’s order, the apex court had added that consequential proceedings arising out of the summoning order shall also remain stayed. The Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar had on March 11 rejected the CBI’s closure report and had summoned Singh and the other five as accused.
While issuing summons, the trial court had said that prima facie it was clear that the criminal conspiracy which was initially conceived by Birla, Hindalco and its two officials, was carried out further by roping in Parakh, and thereafter the then Minister of Coal, Manmohan Singh.
It had said that Singh’s approval to allocate coal block to Hindalco prima facie facilitated windfall profits to the private firm resulting in loss to state-owned PSU Neyveli Lignite Corporation Ltd (NLC).

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