Parakh misused his office, says CBI

Coalgate: Agency might register more cases before October 29

Parakh misused his office, says CBI

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday claimed that former Coal Secretary P C Parakh had “misused” his office and failed to explain the rationale behind his decision to allot coal blocks to Aditya Birla Group company Hindalco even after the Screening Committee had decided otherwise.

The agency also indicated that it might register more cases in the coal block allocation scam before October 29, when it is due to submit its status report to the Supreme Court.

The CBI has so far registered 14 cases, and is still conducting three preliminary enquiries with regard to allocation of coal blocks between 1993 and 2004, between 2006 and 2009, and awarding of contracts for formation of joint ventures by government companies under the “Government Dispensation Category” from 1993.

The registration of the case against Kumar Mangalam Birla and Parakh on Tuesday resulted in a political storm engulfing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, with the former coal secretary claiming that if the charge against him was conspiracy, Singh should also be named.

Officials said Parakh was examined during the preliminary enquiry, and during questioning he did not name the prime minister.

Parakh had been asked the reasons behind reversing the decision to reject Hindalco's application. According to sources, Parakh could not explain under what circumstances he changed the “considered” view of the Screening Committee and allowed Hindalco a share of the Talabira II and III coal blocks in Odisha, which were allocated to PSUs Mahanadi Coalfields and Neyveli Lignite.

Parakh had earlier rejected the allegations, saying that there was nothing wrong with his decision as Hindalco was the first applicant and equally competent to get the coal blocks.
The CBI has alleged in its FIR that following the rejection of Hindalco's plea in 2005, Birla wrote two letters to and met with Parakh, after which the decision was reversed.

Officials said the CBI is investigating the case and collecting evidence, and if no wrongdoing is found, the Supreme Court would be informed about closing the case.
Investigators are also looking into whether the retired official had any role in another company getting coal blocks in 2007.

It is claimed that he was made a director in the company two years after his retirement, and had left the company after it got the blocks.
Parakh could not be contacted for his comments.

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