Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s appeal in connection with a coal block allocation case will not come up for hearing on September 21 with the Supreme Court on Tuesday accepting his plea to defer the hearing.
In what may mean an indefinite adjournment, a bench led by Chief Justice H L Dattu said the matter will be listed only when it is mentioned by Singh’s counsel or the CBI lawyer, and ordered deletion of the case from its list of business of September 21.
In April, the court had stayed the order summoning Singh as an accused for allegedly facilitating illegal allocation of the Talabira-II coal block in Odisha to Aditya Birla Group’s Hindalco in 2005. It had also stayed the summons against Hindalco chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla, former coal secretary P C Parakh and three others.
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A day ago, senior advocate Kapil Sibal had mentioned the matter before the CJI, pointing out that the case was neither ready for a hearing nor were the notices served, but the September 21 list showed the case listed for hearing.
Appearing for the CBI, advocate Amit Anand Tiwari replied that the matter was perhaps listed along with the other cases in the coal scam, scheduled for a hearing before a special bench on September 21. Justice Dattu had then said he would look into the files and pass appropriate orders.
On Tuesday, Sibal disputed that Singh’s was a coal scam case, contending that it had earlier come up for hearing before a bench that dealt with the corruption cases. The bench responded: “We have gone through the files…there is nothing in it. It is neither here nor there.” It told Sibal that a decision would have to be taken on whether Singh’s appeal should be heard along with coal cases but for the moment, the matter will be deleted from the September 21 list.
The bench said Singh’s appeal and the other connected matters would be taken up after they are mentioned before the court. With this order, the stay on proceedings in the trial court also gets extended.