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Why was Manmohan Singh not questioned?

By The Assam Tribune

NEW DELHI, Nov 25 � The CBI today came in for some tough questioning from a special court hearing a coal blocks allocation scam case when it asked why the agency did not question former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh when he was also holding the coal portfolio between 2005 and 2009, reports PTI.

The court�s observations came after the CBI submitted that though initially it felt Singh�s examination was necessary, later it found that it was not required. At the end of the hearing, the court summoned the case diary and crime file in a sealed cover and posted the matter for November 27.

During the hearing, the investigating officer (IO) told the judge, �the coal minister was not permitted to be examined.�

�PMO officials were examined. The then minister of coal was not examined in the light of the statement of PMO officials,� the IO said, adding, �It was found that his statement was not necessary�.

�Don�t you think examination of the then coal minister was necessary in the matter? Didn�t you feel the need to examine him? Don�t you think his statement was necessary to present a clear picture?� Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar asked the IO.

The court was hearing a case in which an FIR was lodged against industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla, ex-Coal Secretary P C Parakh and others relating to allocation of Talabira II and III coal blocks in Odisha in 2005 to Hindalco. CBI had later on filed closure report in the case.

Former Prime Minister Singh was holding the portfolio of coal ministry when Birla�s firm Hindalco was allocated coal blocks in Orissa�s Talabira II & III in 2005.

During the hearing, the IO also told the court that during the probe, then PMO officials, T K A Nair and Javed Usmani, were examined by the agency in connection with the case.

To this, the judge asked the IO, �did you examine the witnesses personally or you had sent questionnaire to them?.�

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