Talabira allocation scam: SC rejects petition to summon Naveen

New Delhi/Bhubaneswar: The Supreme Court today scrapped a special leave petition (SLP) seeking summons to be issued to Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik in Talabira-II coal block allocation case.

Hearing the petition, the SC Bench, comprising Justices V. Gopal Gowda and C. Nagappan, also slapped a fine of Rs 1 lakh on the petitioner, official sources said.

On April 1, the apex court had admitted the petition seeking action against Patnaik for his alleged role in the controversial allocation of the coal block in Odisha to Hindalco group.

Supreme Court lawyer N.K. Sahoo had filed the plea alleging that the controversy on inclusion of Hindalco in the Talabira-II coal block started because of the letter written by Patnaik to the Centre in August 2005, supporting Hindalco’s claim to the coal block.

Earlier, the CBI court had summoned former prime minister Manmohan Singh, who also served as the Coal minister then, Hindalco group owner Kuma Mangalam Birla and four others for illegal allocation of the coal block to the private aluminium company.

The trial court had observed that due to the illegal allocation, Hindalco earned huge profits while Centre-owned Neyveli Lignite Corporation sustained massive losses.

“The former prime minister had taken a decision on the allocation of Talabira-II coal block to Hindalco following the representation made by the Odisha government. Surprisingly, Patnaik has been kept out of the purview of the CBI probe. He was not even summoned in the case by the trial court,” argued the petitioner’s counsel.