Coal scam: Hold PM responsible, says ex-coal secy
Hyderabad: Asserting that there is nothing wrong in allocation of coal blocks, former Union Coal Secretary Prakash Chandra Parakh on Wednesday said if the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) considers a conspiracy in this case, then Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh should be held equally responsible being the final decision maker.
Parakh, who has been named in the latest chargesheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) along with industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla and his company, said there is absolutely nothing wrong in the decision.
"So, to my mind I don't know why the CBI has thought that there is a controversy. But if it is a conspiracy, then there are different members to this conspiracy. Birla, who made a representation, is one conspirant; I who examined the case and made a recommendation, I can be another conspirant; and the Prime Minister as Coal Minister who took the decision is the third conspirant. So, if CBI thinks that there is a conspiracy then why did they select Birla and me and why not PM," asked Parakh.
"If there is a conspiracy, then we all three conspirants and he is the final decision-maker," he added.
The 1969-batch IAS officer of Andhra Pradesh cadre, who was appointed Union Coal Secretary in March 2004 and remained in that post till he retired in December 2005, said it is for the CBI to answer as to why they have included him in the FIR.
Parakh further said the CAG had stated that he was the person who wanted transparency in the system.
Parakh had on Tuesday said if the CBI smelt a conspiracy in allocation of coal blocks then the Prime Minister should be an accused too since he signed off on the decision.
The 1969 batch IAS officer of Andhra Pradesh cadre, who was appointed Union Coal Secretary in March 2004, remained in that post till he retired in December 2005.
The CBI on Tuesday filed FIRs against Kumar Mangalam Birla and Parakh for alleged irregularities and criminal conspiracy in allocation of two coal blocks in Orissa in 2005.
The CBI, which has now filed 14 FIRs in this case, carried out coordinated searches at offices of the Aditya Birla group in Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad and Bhubaneswar.
The BJP has held the Prime Minister responsible and demanded his resignation for an estimated loss of Rs 1.86 lakh crore to the national exchequer by the CAG in connection with the coal block allocation.
The CAG report does not indict the Prime Minister or his office, but the BJP is emphasizing that the Prime Minister held direct charge of the coal ministry for the years under scrutiny.