Apex court to hear ex-minister’s plea on Nov 30 in coal scam case

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The Supreme Court today said it will hear on November 30 the plea of former Union Minister Santosh Bagrodia seeking parity with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for stay of criminal proceedings against him in a coal block allocation case.

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“We will list your case for hearing on November 30,” a bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and A K Sikri said when the counsel for Bagrodia referred to the past hearings that have taken place before another bench on the appeal filed by the former Prime Minister in another coal block allocation case.
“Mr Kapil Sibal had mentioned the matter before the bench headed by the Chief Justice on two occasions. It was said that the matter (Manmohan’s appeal) will be heard by the coal bench. Mine is a similar matter,” senior advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for Bagrodia, said.

Earlier, CBI had opposed the stand of Bagrodia seeking parity with the former Prime Minister saying that the legal provisions challenged by both of them were different.

The apex court-appointed Special Public Prosecutor for coal scam cases, R S Cheema, had submitted that the 75-year-old Congress leader, who was junior minister to Singh in the coal ministry from April 2008 to May 2009, has raised those issues which needed to be discussed at the stage of charge framing.  Cheema had said while in Singh’s case, constitutional validity of section 13(1)(d)(iii) of Prevention of Corruption Act has been challenged, Bagrodia’s case pertained to section 13(1)(d).

Venugopal, however, had said he was the junior minister in the coal ministry and the deciding authority was the then Prime Minister.
He submitted that there was not a case against him to raise questions of bribe or doing anything illegal.
On September 22, Venugopal had submitted that Bagrodia was entitled for the same relief the apex court gave to the then Prime Minister on April 1 by staying the order of the trial court summoning him as an accused in another case arising out of the coalgate.

Bagrodia, former Minister of State for Coal in Singh’s cabinet, has been summoned as accused by special CBI court in a case concerning allocation of Maharashtra’s Bander coal block to AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd.
The apex court on April 1 had stayed the trial court order summoning Manmohan Singh as accused in a case pertaining to grant of Talabira-II coal block in Odisha in 2005 to Aditya Birla group company Hindalco.
The order also applied to Hindalco Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla, former Coal Secretary P C Parakh, Hindalco and its officials Shubhendu Amitabh and D Bhattacharya.

In the other case, along with Bagrodia, ex-Coal Secretary H C Gupta and retired public servant L S Janoti were summoned as accused.

These three were summoned as accused in the case in which the CBI had earlier chargesheeted Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Darda, his son Devendra Darda, AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd and its Director Manoj Jayaswal as accused. Bagrodia was granted bail by the trial court on September 8.  PTI

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