During his preliminary examination by the CBI, former coal secretary PC Parakh has allegedly failed to justify his decision in 2005 to allocate private firm Hindalco a share in Odisha’s Talabira coalfield, which was a reversal of an earlier decision of the inter-ministerial screening committee headed by him, a senior CBI official said.
“We had sought clarifications from him after lodging our preliminary enquiry to probe irregularities in the allocation, but he could not explain under what circumstances he allocated Hindalco a share in the coal blocks along with Neyveli Lignite Corporation,” the official said.
“In doing that, he had overturned his own decision when he had chaired the screening committee and rejected the firm’s application,” the official said.
“The former coal secretary also disregarded the opposition of other coal ministry bureaucrats who had said the screening committee’s decision should not be overturned,” he added.
The agency said on Tuesday it had named Parakh, Hindalco, and Aditya Birla Group’s chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla in its first information report to probe the alleged irregularities.
The Opposition meanwhile continued to attack the Congress. A CPI(M) politburo statement said, “It is shocking that Union minister Anand Sharma has come out in defence of a big industrialist claiming he is innocent in the case.” BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi also called for probe into the charges leveled by Parakh against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the coal scam.