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CBI questions ex-coal secretary Parakh


New Delhi, May 1

The CBI Thursday questioned former coal secretary P.C. Parakh over the coal block allocation scam, sources said.

Parakh, 69, appeared before the Central Bureau of Investigation at its Delhi headquarters around 11 a.m. and was grilled for over eight hours. He is likely to be questioned Friday too, the sources said.

PC Parakh
PC Parakh

The investigation agency had served fresh summons to former IAS officer Parakh, seeking his appearance Thursday.

In an earlier summons, issued April 22, the agency told him to appear April 25 but he had expressed his inability to do so.

It is alleged that Parakh misused his official position in granting a coal block in Odisha to Hindalco, a company of the Aditya Birla Group.

It is also alleged that the screening committee had alotted the Talabira-II coal block to public sector undertaking (PSU) Neyveli Lignite Limited but the decision was changed by Parakh after he reportedly received a request from the Prime Minister’s Office for reconsideration of the decision following a Birla group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla’s request.

The CBI last year registered a case against Parakh and Birla, besides “unknown” officials of Hindalco and the coal ministry.

The agency alleged that during 2005, these people entered into a criminal conspiracy and Parakh abused his position to show 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 a loss to the exchequer.