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Manmohan Singh moves Supreme Court against summons in coal scam

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh filed an appeal in the Supreme Court on Wednesday against the summons issued to him by a trial court in connection with the coal blocks allocation scam.

The petition has asked for the order of special judge Bharat Parashar to be struck down on various grounds including that the order is bad in law and fails to fix any specific act of criminality on Singh, sources said.

The petition also pointed out that at the relevant time — 2005 — when the coal blocks in question were allocated to a leading Indian corporation, there had been no coal policy in place. As such, there could not be a charge of favouritism against the former PM, sources added.

Potentially the second former head of government to face trial, 83-year-old Singh had been summoned as an accused by a special court overseeing all coal scam related matters on March 11 this year. Along with him, the court had also summoned former coal secretary PC Parakh and four others saying "some acts of their omission and commission, though not all, show their complicity in the conspiracy."

Parashar, who had been considering the Central Bureau of Investigation's final report in the case, directed Singh and the others to appear before his court on April 8 to answer charges of criminal conspiracy, breach of trust and corruption.

Upset over the summons issued to him the former prime minister had earlier this month said he was sure that the truth would prevail in the matter.

"I hope in any fair trial, I would be able to establish my total innocence. I have stated before the CBI my position and I have also as a prime minister issued a statement justifying what we did," he had said.

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