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India court summons ex-PM Manmohan in coal probe

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, dealing a fresh blow to the ailing Congress party.

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 suspicions of corruption.

He faces allegations of corruption-related offences, breach of trust and criminal conspiracy, which carries a possible life sentence, the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency said.

“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.

The 82-year-old former premier, who enjoyed a reputation for probity during his decade as leader of the Congress-led government ousted in last year’s general election, has denied any wrongdoing.

Responding to the summons, he said he was open to scrutiny and confident the truth would come out.

“I will be able to establish my total innocence,” he said in comments broadcast on the NDTV news channel.

In an earlier statement Singh said he was “upset” but that “these are the facts of life”, adding “I am open to all scrutiny”. (AFP)

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