P.C. Parakh, who has shot into the limelight in the wake of the latest case registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the Coalgate scam, was a mining geologist at the National Mineral Development Corporation and Hindustan Mining Corporation before joining the IAS in 1969.
A native of Rajasthan, Mr. Parakh graduated from IIT-Roorkee and was allotted to the Andhra Pradesh cadre of IAS. He was Chief Commissioner of Land Administration — a post that is next only to the Chief Secretary of the State government in importance — before taking over as Coal Secretary in April 2004. He was Collector of Adilabad and Commissioner of Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad.
Mr. Parakh served a long term as Secretary of Industries in Andhra Pradesh and was credited with playing an important role in bringing investments to the sector. Successive Chief Ministers used his services to conduct road shows and investment campaigns in the U.S., the U.K. and south Asia. He was instrumental in restructuring the State public sector undertakings with the Department for International Development (DFID) aid.
The 68-year-old retired bureaucrat won the praise of the Comptroller and Auditor General for recommending to the Coal Minister the discarding of the system of allocating coal blocks and instead starting competitive bidding in captive mines. His argument was that the coal producers in captive blocks made windfall gain as there was a huge difference in the price of coal supplied by Coal India and the production cost in captive mines. This was considered by the CAG as a whistleblower.
Mr. Parakh incurred the displeasure of the government after he used the Right to Information Act to access his own communication with the then Cabinet Secretary B.K. Chaturvedi.
When the Cabinet Secretariat denied him access to the papers, he approached the Central Information Commission.