Coalgate: CBI summons former coal secretary Parakh

Tags: CBI, Coalgate, Parakh, News
CBI today summoned former Coal Secretary P C Parakh for questioning on April 25 in connection with a case for alleged abuse of official position in granting a coal block in Odisha to Hindalco, a company of Aditya Birla Group.

69-year-old Parakh, who has been critical of CBI's action especially its Director Ranjit Sinha for registering a case against him, has now been asked to appear before the agency on Friday during which he is expected to be grilled what led to decision of the Screening Committee being changed, official sources said here today.

The Screening Committee had alloted the Talabira-II coal block to Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) Neyveli Lignite Limited but the decision was changed by Parakh after he had received a request sent by Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla from Prime Minister's Office for reconsideration of the decision.

CBI had last year registered a case against Parakh, Birla, besides unknown officials of Hindalco and coal ministry.

The agency alleged that during 2005, these persons entered into a criminal conspiracy and the then public servant (Parakh) abused his position and showed undue favour to the Odisha-based industry in allocation of Talabira II and Talabira III coal blocks along with the PSU.

According to the FIR, Neyveli Lignite Limited was to be given Talabira II block but Parakh allegedly favoured Hindalco and allowed it to share the block with Neyveli leading to notional loss to the exchequer.

Giving a clean chit to the PMO as well as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that no pressure had been applied on him (Parakh), the former Coal Secretary had said in his book that the decision was taken for the better interest of the nation.

He had denied any quid pro quo as alleged by the CBI in its FIR about his meeting with Birla.

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