Government officials said the Parakh episode was disheartening and would discourage honest bureaucrats from taking decisions and working closely with the private sector.
“It means that there is no problem if you keep on rejecting genuine requests made by the private sector but expose yourself to a CBI case if the decision helps them,” a senior officer said.
Parakh was named as an accused by the CBI in a fresh FIR in the coal block allocation scandal, accusing him of criminal misconduct because he amended a decision taken by a panel chaired by him after a representation from a private firm, Hindalco.
“At this rate, how will officers, particularly those in economic ministries, work?” asked another IAS officer.
“And what will happen to all the public private partnership projects to build our infrastructure. How will that be executed without meeting the private sector,” the officer said, referring to the CBI FIR against Parakh citing his meeting with Aditya Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla.
Parakh, however, isn’t the only one to get into trouble for doing his job. Government sources said former telecom secretary Shyamal Ghosh was similarly being pursued in the spectrum allocation case more than a decade after his retirement.
Former expenditure secretary EAS Sarma said a clear distinction must be made between decisions taken in good faith and malafide decisions. It was unfortunate that dishonest ministers, politicians and officers were being let off and honest officers harassed, he said.