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Birla to meet Finance Minister today evening

New Delhi, Oct 18 (): Birla of the Aditya Birla group is likely to meet Finance Minister P Chidambaram today, Friday evening. The meeting was scheduled at 4 pm today. The agenda is not known, but the meeting comes two days after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a first information report naming Birla, his company Hindalco and ex-Coal Secretary PC Parakh in the coal gate scam.

Birla, chairman of Aditya Birla group valued at $40 billion , has been charged by the CBI of cheating and criminal conspiracy. It has stated that he was shown undue favour in a coal block allotted to Hindalco in 2005.

India Inc is angry and has warned that the CBI’s move against Birla, an industrialist with business interests spread in 40 countries, could weaken investor sentiment at a time when the India faces an economic crisis.

In a statement, FICCI president of industry body said, ” Industry leaders should not be made scapegoats on mere suspicion and misunderstood actions.” She pointed out that such action will have effects on bureaucrats and hit decision making.

Coming to the defence of Birla, HDFC Chairman said that it is ludicrous that a FIR has been filed against him and said that Kumar Mangalam Birla is straight as an arrow. Parekh said system is such that the innocents are harassed while biggest fraudsters go scot-free.

Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said in an interview to NDTV, that if every policy decision is questioned, if every person is questioned, it will create an atmosphere of fear and country will suffer. He also said that there was nothing improper in Birla having presented his case to the Prime Minister in 2005.

Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh headed the coal ministry when the coal block in Odisha was allotted to Hindalco, the largest aluminium makers in Asia. Hindalco has said that every process needed for coal allocation was in line with government regulations. Odisha CM Patnaik is to come under CBI scanner for writing a letter to PM favouring Birla.