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India court summons former PM in coal probe

Mar 11 2015 20:00

New Delhi - An Indian court on Wednesday summoned former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as one of the accused in an investigation into illegal government coal mine allocations, reports and an official said.

Singh faces allegations of criminal conspiracy, breach of trust and corruption-related offences, the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency said.

India's Supreme Court ruled last year that there were "legal flaws" in the government's procedure for awarding nearly 220 coal blocks in India, which relies on the fuel for two-thirds of its power generation.

Singh, who was India's prime minister from 2004 until last year, is the highest-profile figure to be implicated in the investigation into the allocations, long dogged by allegations of corruption.

"The court has named him as an accused and asked him to present himself before it," an official from India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) told AFP on condition of anonymity.

He and five other accused in the case face a life sentence if found guilty of criminal conspiracy.

The CBI launched its investigations after the government auditor in 2012 accused the coal ministry of under pricing coalfields when allocating them to companies, giving away billions of dollars of public money in the process.

Many blocks were awarded under the former, congress-led government that Singh headed.

CBI judge Bharat Parashar summoned Singh and the five other accused in the case to appear before him on April 8, PTI said.

manmohan singh  |  india  |  world economy  |  investigations
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