India Inc and former bureaucrats have come out strongly in support of the former Coal Secretary, P.C. Parakh, asserting that capable and highly regarded officials and business leaders cannot be made scapegoats on mere suspicion and misconstrued rules. Such actions by the CBI will prevent officers from taking decisions.
The CBI on Tuesday registered an FIR against Mr. Parakh and Aditya Birla group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla in connection with the coal scam.
Anti-corruption crusader E.A.S. Sarma said he was at loss to understand how a case had been made only against Mr. Parakh and not against anyone in the PMO or Minister in the case. “I have known him [Mr. Parakh] for long. He is an honest, competent officer.” Mr. Sarma, also a former Coal Secretary, expressed the hope that investigation would be objective and would not be influenced by extraneous pressures. “A clear distinction must be made between decisions taken in good faith and mala fide decisions. It is unfortunate that dishonest ministers, politicians and officers are let off and honest officers harassed.”
Mr. Sarma said he had written to the Central Vigilance Commission on June 15 last year requesting it to initiate an investigation into the role of the PMO in the Coalgate and three other scams. “I reminded the CVC at least two times after that. There has been no visible response to my letters,” he said.
The former Cabinet Secretary, T.S.R. Subramanian, said such kind of action by the CBI against Mr. Parakh would stop others from taking decisions. “According to the FIR, it was said Mr. Parakh met Mr. Birla. As Cabinet Secretary, I used to meet 10 bureaucrats, 10 politicians and 10 businessmen daily. Should that mean that I be also made an accused?”
Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) president Naina Lal Kidwai said the key to sustaining economic growth and promoting development was good governance and quality decision-making.
“In the recent past, we have been witness to some very unfortunate developments. We find that cases are being registered against top bureaucrats and industry icons. It goes without saying that such developments dent the national psyche and also dampen investor confidence — both domestic and foreign. There is also a feeling that with repeated episodes of a trust deficit between industry and the government, the business sentiment and the investment environment would be vitiated and India could slip further from the growth trajectory that is so necessary for us to maintain,” Ms. Kidwai said in a statement.
“We also need to bring back a regime of courageous decision making. Decisions made in the interest of progress, when made in a transparent manner with no personal gains and without mala fide interest are critical for growth. Capable and highly regarded officers and business leaders cannot be made scapegoats on mere suspicion and misconstrued actions,” she said.