The CBI on Tuesday summoned former Coal Secretary P.C. Parakh for questioning on April 25, 2014 in connection with a case for alleged abuse of official position in granting a coal block in Odisha to Aditya Birla Group company Hindalco.
Mr. Parakh, who has been critical of the CBI’s action especially that of its director Ranjit Sinha for registering a case against him, has now been asked to appear before the agency on Friday during which he is expected to be questioned about what led to the decision of the Screening Committee being changed, official sources said in New Delhi on Tuesday.
The Screening Committee had allotted the Talabira-II coal block to public sector Neyveli Lignite Limited but the decision was changed by Mr. Parakh after he had received a request sent by Aditya Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla from the Prime Minister’s Office for reconsideration of the decision.
The CBI had in 2013 registered a case against Mr. Parakh, Mr. Birla, besides unknown officials of Hindalco and the Coal Ministry.
The agency alleged that during 2005, these persons entered into a criminal conspiracy and the then public servant (Mr. Parakh) abused his position and showed undue favour to the Odisha-based company in allocation of Talabira-II and Talabira-III coal blocks.
According to the FIR, Neyveli Lignite was to be given Talabira-II block but Mr. Parakh allegedly favoured Hindalco and allowed it to share the block with Neyveli Lignite leading to notional loss to the exchequer.
He had denied any quid pro quo as alleged by the CBI in its FIR about his meeting with Mr. Birla.