CBI quizzes former PM Manmohan Singh over coal scam

New Delhi: CBI questioned the former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday in connection with the coal block allocation scam, a case that has dominated national media headlines, but neither Singh nor the CBI was willing to confirm it.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Singh is the only former prime minister to be interrogated in any case.

According to informed sources, a team of CBI officials “examined” the former prime minister at his residence two days ago ahead of the filing of status report before a special CBI court by January 27.

Singh’s examination was in connection with a coal scam case relating to allocation of Talabira II block to Hindalco when he was also holding the portfolio of Coal and in pursuance of the court’s December 16 order.

When contacted, CBI spokesperson Kanchan Prasad refused to confirm or deny the development while an aide of the former Prime Minister denied it.

The sources said Singh was examined about the developments which took place in the Ministry of Coal as well as the PMO after industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla had written two letters dated May 7, 2005 and June 17, 2005 to the then PM requesting for allocation of Talabira-II coal block to Hindalco.

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.

Inputs with PTI