Files contain reasons for preferring Hindalco: Parakh
Former Coal Secretary P.C. Parakh, who has been charged with alleged irregularities in the allotment of coal mine to Aditya Birla Group, on Saturday said he had on files given full reasons for preferring Hindalco over a PSU for allocation of the coal block.
“All those things were recorded in my noting in the file and there is nothing further to comment on that,” Parakh told PTI.
The CBI sources had on Friday claimed that Mr. Parakh had failed to specify any “public good” on file notings when he reversed his earlier position of rejecting Hindaclo’s application for coal block in Odisha.
“Why did we reverse the decision, all these things have been recorded in the file,” Mr. Parakh said.
The CBI has registered a FIR against Hindalco Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla, Mr. Parakh and others for alleged irregularities in allocation of Talabira II and III coal blocks in Odisha in 2005.
Originally, Hindalco and state-owned Neyveli Lignite Corp had applied for a coal block. The Screening Committee headed by Mr. Parakh had decided to allocate the mine to Neyveli but the decision was later reversed after Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Birla made separate representations to the Prime Minister.
Mr. Parakh said he did not see the necessity to refer the Prime Minister’s note to re-examine the Hindalco’s requisition for coal block, to the Steering Committee.
The Steering Committee had first rejected Hindalco’s request for Talibara coal block but Parakh reversed the decision based on note from the Prime Minister, who was also in-charge of Coal portfolio then.
“Since I was heading the Steering Committee I was fully aware of what was the discussion in the Steering Committee. And therefore it was not necessary to go back to Steering Committee,” Mr. Parakh said.
“It is not required. Because Steering Committee is not a statutory committee which takes decisions basically make recommendations to the government. The final decision is always taken by the government,” he added.
Mr. Parakh had recently said that Mr. Birla made a representation to the Prime Minister that the Steering Committee’s decision was unfair as they were first applicants.
Mr. Parakh had said he found that there was some clarity in Mr. Birla’s representation which made him re-examine the entire issue and found there is validity in their claim.
Mr. Parakh had said he made the recommendation that apart from Neyveli, Hindalco should also be included in this block and they should go as Joint Venture company (between Neyveli and Hindalco).
When asked if he has any plans to approach courts seeking removal of his name from the FIR, the former bureaucrat replied in the negative.
On former Coal Minister Shibu Soren’s letter, Mr. Parakh said: “The Minister (Soren) wanted my transfer and he wrote that letter. I responded to that letter through my letter to the Cabinet Secretary.”
Mr. Soren alleged that Mr. Parakh indulged in ‘gross insubordination’ and hence be transferred from Coal Ministry.
Mr. Parakh in his letter to the Cabinet Secretary had stated that as a secretary it was both his right and responsibility to advice the Minister as to what he considered was ‘rational, fair and in the public interest’.