Manmohan Singh allocated coal block to Jindal firms: Rao

Former union minister of state for coal Dasari Narayan Rao on Friday told a court here that the decisions about allocating Jharkhand’s Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block to two firms were taken by then prime minister Manmohan Singh.

Rao, an accused in the coal block allocation case, said it wasManmohan Singh who had decided to allocate Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block to Jindal Steel and Gagan Sponge firms.

While seeking bail in the case, Rao’s counsel told Special Judge Bharat Parashar that Manmohan Singh held the coal portfolio while the decision of allocation of the coal block to industrialist Naveen Jindal’s firms Jindal Steel and Gagan Sponge was taken.

The counsel said Rao had nothing to do with the allocation of coal block and for being the minister of state for coal at that time, he only forwarded the notes.

“The decision regarding coal block allocation was taken by the Prime Minister Office, not by me,” Rao told the court.

Rao, with industrialist Naveen Jindal, former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda and seven others have been chargesheeted by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the case. They were granted bail on Friday.

The case relates to the allocation of Jharkhand’s Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block to Jindal Steel and Gagan Sponge.

The agency said the Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block allocation was recommended by the 35th screening committee.

“It was alleged that two steel and iron companies based in Delhi misrepresented facts to get coal blocks. Also, there was alleged investment in a Hyderabad-based firm from the group of companies based at Delhi,” said a CBI official.

Rao was the union minister of state for coal between 2006 and 2009 when the irregularities allegedly took place.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/manmohan-singh-allocated-coal-block-to-jindal-firms-rao-115052201538_1.html

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