03/12/2015, 00.00
INDIA
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Manmohan Singh investigated in coal scandal: I will prove my innocence

The former Prime Minister is still under investigation, but if charged and found guilty faces a life sentence. The Congress has expressed solidarity with him. Singh, 82, is known as one of India's most honest politicians.

New Delhi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Led by Sonia Gandhi, at least 100 senior Congress party members marched today to express solidarity with Manmohan Singh, former Indian Prime Minister. The 82 year old statesman, was heard yesterday by a court in New Delhi as part of an inquiry into the "coal scandal" (or Coalgate Coal scam), a corruption case dating to 2012.

Together with five other people, Singh is under investigation for criminal conspiracy and will have to appear in court on April 8. For the moment he is still under indictment. After being heard by the courts, the politician said he was "open to a forensic examination" and was certain that "the truth will prevail."

The court questioned Singh over the allocation of a mining license to Hindalco Industries in Orissa, in 2005. At the time, the politician was Prime Minister and also managed the portfolio of the Ministry of Coal. In 2012, federal auditors stated that India had lost $ 33 billion because of mining rights sold at bargain prices.

Leading the march from the party headquarters to Singh's residence, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, said: "Manmohan Singh is known in India and in the world to be a person of integrity and honesty. We are here to offer our strong support and our solidarity. The Congress Party is at his side and will fight these charges in a legal way, with all the means at our disposal. We are sure he will be vindicated".

Known as one of the most transparent and honest politicians of India, the former prime minister is under investigation for criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust and corruption-related offenses. If a court decides to indict him and find him guilty, Singh could be sentenced to life imprisonment. A hypothesis that, however, is considered unlikely by many analysts and commentators.

 

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