New Delhi, Oct 17 (): CBI has denied that it was wrong in naming Kumar Mangalam Birla and then coal secretary P C Parakh. CBI pointed out that the probe into coal allocation is conducted following Supreme Court guidelines.
The CBI naming Aditya Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla and Hindalco in the FIR triggered a storm with many big industrialists and Congress ministers crying foul. The general belief is that Birla does not bend the rules and Parakh is in fact a whistle-blower who helped CAG to unearth the scam. CBI has a different story to tell.
CBI says it is not their concern what other agencies like CAG said about the former coal secretary PC Parakh. They have evidence on record that it was Parakh who reversed the screening committee decision and coal block was allotted to Aditya Birla. The agency pointed out that this is a Supreme Court-monitored investigation and they are going by the rule book. CBI director Ranjit Sinha said that the probe is in the initial stage of investigation and everyone will get a chance to defend themselves.
The reactions from the CBI director comes in the wake of doubts expressed by the UPA ministers, industry bigwigs and officials over FIRs lodged against corporations in the coal gate scam.
Bureaucrats are reportedly concerned after former coal secretary Parakh was named in the FIR. The IAS association will meet on October 19 to discuss the fallout of the issue. Bureaucrats feel that this trend will lead to no one signing a file or take a decision and leave it to the ministers.
The CBI has accused Parakh of reversing his decision to reject a coal block allocation to Hindalco within months without any change in circumstances and it was to show undue favours. Charges of criminal misconduct and conspiracy have been slapped on Parakh and Birla for allocation of Talabira II and III coal blocks in 2005.
The CBI said that at the 25th Screening Committee meeting, chaired by Parakh, Hindalco and Indal Industries’ bids were rejected for mining in Talabira II and III giving valid reasons.
On the recommendations of the Screening Committee, Mahanadi coal-fields and Neyveli Lignite Corporation, both PSU undertakings were selected. These recommendations were placed before the Coal Ministry which ratified it and Parakh gave the consent letter of allocation to the PSUs on June 16 and July 15 of 2005.
Within days, Parakh and Birla had a personal meeting in which the industrialist asked that the allocation of Talabira II coal block be given to Hindalco, the CBI said.
After the letters from Birla and personal meeting with Parakh, latter using his official position as a coal secretary recommended the allocation of Talabira II along with Talabira III coal block to Hindalco Industries Limited, along with two other companies without giving any valid reason and with no change in circumstances did it with the sole intention to show favours to Hindalco Industries Limited, the agency said in its FIR.
It claimed Parakh as Chairman overlooked the deliberations and recommendations of Screening Committee which rejected the Hindalco bid. Parakh says his decision was right and there was no conspiracy. He wanted the then Coal Minister (now PM) to be named in the FIR.
Hindalco claimed that it had no role in reversing the standing committee decision. The BJP has asked Parakh to come forth with more details and PM to accept the responsibility.