Name PM too: Parakh

Name PM too: Parakh

Coal scam: 'Manmohan equally responsible'

Name PM too: Parakh

Former coal secretary P C Parakh, facing a CBI probe into alleged irregularities in coal block allocation, on Wednesday triggered a storm by stating that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had taken the final decision as head of the Coal Ministry and should also be named as a “conspirator” and made “accused” in the case.

“If I have done any wrong then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who took the final call on allocation of coal blocks is also equally responsible,”  Parakh said.

Speaking to reporters at his Bowenpally home, where the former IAS officer of the AP cadre is living after his retirement, he said that he really wondered why the CBI had included him in their conspiracy theory. “The CBI says that when I was secretary the Talabira coal blocks were allocated to Hindalco, unduly benefitting that private company.”

He explained that there were two firms in consideration, Hindalco and Neyveli Lignite Corporation, which is a state-owned company.

The screening committee took the view that Neyveli, being a PSU, should be given the opportunity.

Kumar Mangalam Birla then made a representation to the Prime Minister saying that it was unfair as Hindalco was the first applicant and was equally eligible.

“He also met me. As there was merit in his argument, I made a proposal that Hindalco could also be accommodated along with Neyveli. Both were told to form a joint venture and, in my view, there was nothing wrong as both were equally eligible and were allocated coal,” Parakh said.

“Neyveli being a PSU, by the time of this allocation, the coal requirement has come down. By that time, we had taken a decision that government companies could be allocated coal from outside captive mines also; the shortfall of Neyveli could be filled in from outside also. In my view, there was absolutely nothing wrong with our decision, I don’t know why CBI thought that there is a conspiracy,” Parakh adds.

He pointed out that if there was a conspiracy, then there were certainly many members in that conspiracy.

“There is Mr Birla, I and the Prime Minister. If there is a conspiracy in the allocation, why the CBI didn’t include the name of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh? He is the final decision-maker,” Parakh asked.

When asked about his stand before the CBI, Parakh said that he had made the same statement to the CBI sleuths.

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