‘CBI has failed to appreciate issues involved in the case’

The former Coal Secretary, P.C. Parakh, said on Friday that it was gracious on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s part to say the decision to allot a coal block to Hindalco was right and charged the CBI with failing to appreciate issues involved in the case.

Talking to journalists here, he contested the CBI’s argument that after Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman of the Aditya Birla Group that owns Hindalco, met Dr. Singh and him, the government reversed the Screening Committee’s decision and allotted the block to the company. It did not show the slightest element of criminality. “The CBI has not been able to appreciate the issues involved in this particular decision. It was very gracious on the part of the Prime Minister to say, ‘Yes, the decision was right and if the CBI has anything to ask for, it is free to do so’.”

The CBI, which has named Mr. Parakh in the 14th First Information Report in the coal scam case, has alleged that Mr. Birla met Mr. Parakh in July 2005 and requested that the block be allotted to his company. “Pursuant to these letters and the meeting between Mr. Parakh and Mr. Birla, the former abused his official position and recommended the allocation of Talabira II, along with Talabira III, to Hindalco Industries without any valid basis or change in circumstances and with the sole intention of showing undue favours,” the FIR alleges.

On Thursday, the Prime Minister said no wrong was done in the allocation and he was ready to face a CBI probe. He maintained that the final decision was entirely appropriate and based on the merits of the case placed before him.

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