Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi, Jan 20:
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has reportedly recorded the statement of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in connection with alleged irregularities in the allocation of the Talabira coal block in Odisha to to industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla’s company Hindalco.
As per media reports, CBI officials confirmed that Dr. Singh’s statement had been recorded. However, they remained tight-lipped over when exactly the agency approached him. Notably, the former Prime Minister’s statement has been recorded following a direction by the Special CBI Court last month.
It may be recalled that a special court hearing the case related to allocation of the Talabira coal block in Odisha had asked CBI to record the statement of Manmohan Singh in the case.
The court had also ordered CBI to conduct further investigation in the case and posted the matter for Jan 27.
Singh was examined about the developments which took place in the Ministry of Coal as well as the PMO subsequent to industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla’s two letters dated May 7, 2005 and June 17, 2005 to the then PM requesting for allocation of Talabira-II coal block to the company.
In November last year, the officer probing the allocation of the coal block to Hindalco had told the special court that the CBI was not granted permission from the competent authority to quiz then prime minister Manmohan Singh, who held the coal portfolio at the time.
CBI had received a wrap on its knuckles as Special Judge Bharat Parashar had refused to accept the closure report in the case observing that it would be “appropriate” that the then Coal Minister (Singh) be “first examined” regarding various aspects of the matter.