A special court hearing the coal block case involving industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla and others here on Tuesday asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to record the statement of former prime minister Manmohan Singh who was then holding Coal Ministry portfolio.
Special Judge Bharat Parashar asked the CBI to record the statement of Manmohan Singh in the case.
The court also ordered the CBI to conduct further investigation in the case and posted the matter for January 27.
“I have ordered further investigation. I desire that statement of then coal minister (Manmohan Singh) be recorded beside other officials,” the judge said.
The CBI had booked Birla, former coal secretary PC Parakh, and others on charges of criminal conspiracy and corruption in the coal blocks’ allocation in October 2013.
But the central investigating agency filed a closure report in the case on August 28, saying: “The evidence collected during investigations did not substantiate the allegations levelled against the people named in the FIR (first information report).”
The court, earlier, sought to know on what basis did the CBI draw its conclusion to close the case and what kind of investigation it has conducted.
The court also sought clarifications from the CBI whether an element of criminality was involved in allocating the coal blocks to the Birla-promoted Hindalco firm.
Special Public Prosecutor RS Cheema, in the last month’s hearing, had told the court that it could take cognizance of the CBI’s closure report filed on October 21 as there was no prima facie “evidence against the accused to show their involvement”.
The court had on November 25 asked the investigating officer if officials at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the then coal minister were examined. The officer said some PMO officials were examined but the then coal minister was not.