New Delhi, Oct 22:
CBI today wrote to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) seeking all the records related to allocation of coal block to Hindalco, three days after the top office said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had approved it on the basis of the “merits” of the case placed before him.
CBI sources said the move came after filing of status report before the Supreme Court where the agency has informed the apex court about the latest case registered by it against Aditya Birla Group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla and former Coal Secretary P C Parakh.
The agency has also mentioned about “competent authority” in the FIR which the PMO had explained in its statement is the Prime Minister, who was holding the charge as Coal Minister in 2005 when the decision was taken.
PMO has termed the decision to allot Talabira coal block to Hindalco as “appropriate”.
Meanwhile, reacting to CBI’s action, Minister of State for PMO V Narayanasamy said, “We have nothing to hide and have already given thousands of documents to the agency.”
CBI has said in a statement that it would probe every aspect of the case mentioned in its FIR before taking any call on the future course of action. “As of now, the investigation is going on. We will probe every aspect of the FIR before a future course of action is decided,” CBI has said.
The FIR alleges that while the recommendations of the Screening Committee, which had rejected Hindalco’s application citing “valid reasons”, were being approved by the “competent authority”, it received letters dated May 17, 2005, and June 17, 2005, from Birla requesting allocation of the Talabira II coal block, which were forwarded to the Ministry of Coal.
It said Birla met Parakh in July, 2005, requesting allocation of the block.
“Pursuant to these letters and the meeting between Parakh and Birla, the former abused his official position and recommended the allocation of Talabira II along with Talabira III to Hindalco Industries without any valid basis or change in circumstances and with the sole intention to show undue favours,” it alleged.
Parakh has contended that while he did make the recommendation, it was the Prime Minister who took the final decision on it. (PTI)