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Congress Holds Rally In Manmohan Singh Support

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The entire top Congress leadership, including Sonia Gandhi, on Thursday took to the streets to express solidarity with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has been summoned as accused in a coal scam case, with the party president calling it "outrageous".
 
Sonia chaired a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) at the party headquarters early in the morning and immediately led a march to Singh's residence about half a km away in the heart of the capital in which several of Singh's cabinet colleagues P. Chidambaram, Anand Sharma, Ambika Soni, Veerappa Moily and K. Rehman Khan were present.
 
The Congress leaders also attacked the government accusing it of maintaining a "studied silence" after the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) had told the court that there was no criminality involved in the allocation of Talabira coal blocks II to Hindalco company of Aditya Birla group in Odisha in 2005 when Singh also held the portfolio of coal.
 
Sonia declared that they would fight the case with all legal means at their command 
 
"I was outraged at the news that summons had been served to Manmohan Singh," the Congress president said.
 
"The former Prime Minister is known not only in our country but throughout the world as being a person of integrity and probity. We are here to offer our unstinted support, our solidarity," she said.
 
"The Congress party is fully behind him. We shall fight this legally and with all our means at our command. We are sure, we are convinced that he will be vindicated," she told reporters at Singh's residence.
 
The 82-year-old Singh, accompanied by his wife, received the leaders at the porch of his residence. The leaders greeted him warmly.
 
The former Prime Minister had yesterday expressed confidence that he will prove his innocence in a fair trial.
 
"Of course, I am upset but this is part of life. I have always said I am open for legal scrutiny...I am sure the truth will prevail and I will get a chance to put forward my case with all the facts," a visibly distressed Singh told reporters in parliament, where he sits in the Rajya Sabha, on Wednesday.
 
It is rare but not unknown for former Indian prime ministers to be called into court.
 
A special court had summoned Singh along with industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla, ex-coal secretary P.C. Parakh and three others as accused in a case pertaining to allocation of Talabira-II coal block in Odisha in 2005 and asked them to appear before it on April 8.
 
(Agencies)