3:50 pm - Thursday February 18, 0844

PMO gives Hindalco coal block allocation file to CBI

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CBI files two more fresh FIRs : Coal scam
CBI files two more fresh FIRs : Coal scam

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Friday handed over to CBI the file related to the controversial allocation of coal block to Hindalco in Odisha as sought by the investigative agency.

“The CBI had sought the file related to the allocation. We gave the file and got the receipt,” a PMO official said.

The PMO told the CBI that it is ready to provide any other information, if required, about the allocation of Talabira coal block made in 2005.

The Prime Minister, who has been under opposition attack over the allocation to Hindalco promoted by Mr. Kumar Mangalam Birla, has defended the decision as “entirely appropriate” and based on merits of the case presented to him.

Controversy erupted over the allocation after CBI registered an FIR against Birla and former Coal Secretary P C Parakh last week.

Mr. Parakh has said if he is accused of conspiracy, then the Prime Minister also should be made an accused as he had approved the revised decision, prompting the BJP to demand his resignation.

The Prime Minister on Thursday said he was ready to face CBI in the matter as he has nothing to hide.

“I am not above the law of the land. If there is anything the CBI or, for that matter anybody, wants to ask me, I have nothing to hide,” he told reporters while returning from his two-nation tour of Russia and China.

While defending the decision, the PMO last week issued a statement acknowledging that the final decision of October 1, 2005 “differed” from the earlier recommendation of the screening committee.

It had released the sequence of events which suggested that the norms set by the Prime Minister were relaxed in view of representations made by Birla and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

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