Former Coal Secretary P.C. Parakh, who is among those summoned by the special court in connection with coal blocks allocation scam refused to react on the summons to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday.
Mr. Parakh raised pertinent question in 2013 as to why Mr. Manmohan Singh, who approved the allocation of a coal block to Hindalco Company was spared by the CBI in its chargesheet. Besides Mr. Singh, the court also summoned industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla, Mr. Parakh, two officials of Hindalco for the alleged offences of criminal conspiracy.
Speaking to The Hindu over phone here on Wednesday, Mr. Parakh said that now that the court had taken cognisance of the case, it would not be proper for him to say anything more.
“I said what all I had to say when my name was included in the CBI chargesheet and later mentioned about the coal allocation in great detail in my book published last year. At this stage, it will not be proper for me to say anything more,” Mr. Parakh added.
Mr. Parakh, a retired IAS officer of the Andhra Pradesh cadre, had in October, 2013 termed the CBI’s charges against him as baseless and shocking. In its First Information Report, the investigating agency alleged that Mr. Parakh had re-considered his decision on a coal block allotment to Hindalco in his capacity as screening committee chairman as part of a criminal conspiracy to favour the company.
Mr.Parakh speaking to the media about two years ago had said that if he was named a conspirator in the coal scam case, Mr. Manmohan Singh was a party to the conspiracy because he had approved his recommendation.
“I found there was merit in his case. Hindalco was the first applicant and had the financial and technical competence and also a project on hand. I supported the allotment of the coal block to Neyveli (NLC) as it was a PSU. After reconsidering the case, to be fair to two companies which were equally competent, we decided to accommodate both”, Mr.Parakh told mediapersons then.
Mr. Parakh had also stated then that the coal mining rights allocation would not have come under a cloud had the Government adopted auction method. He said that though he made a strong pitch for bidding, it was opposed by the then Coal Minister, Shibu Soren and his Deputy Dasari Narayana Rao.
Mr.Parakh has not recived summons as yet, but it was inappropirte to say anythng now when the court has taken conginsance of the case. It would amount to contempt of court, sources close to him said.
Asked about Mr.Parakh's response to the latest development, sources said that there was a judicial process in the country and it should make its assessment. One should wait and see what view the court would take.