Files contain reasons for preferring Hindalco over PSU: Parakh
Hyderabad: Former Coal Secretary P. C. Parakh, who has been charged with alleged irregularities in the allotment of coal mines to the Aditya Birla Group, today said he had on the 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.
CBI sources had yesterday claimed that Parakh had failed to specify any “public good” on file notings when he reversed his earlier position of rejecting Hindalco’s application for coal block in Odisha.
“Why did we reverse the decision, all these things have been recorded in the file,” Parakh said.
The CBI has registered an FIR against Hindalco Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla, Parakh and others for alleged irregularities in allocation of the 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 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.
Parakh said he did not see the necessity to refer the Prime Minister’s note to re-examine Hindalco’s requisition for coal block, to the Steering Committee.
The Steering Committee had first rejected Hindalco’s request for the Talibara coal block but Parakh reversed the decision based on a note from the Prime Minister, who was also in-charge of the coal portfolio then.
“Since I was heading the Steering Committee I was fully aware of discussions in the steering committee.
And, therefore, it was not necessary to go back to the Steering Committee,” Parakh said.
“It is not required. Because the Steering Committee is not a statutory committee which takes decisions, basically making recommendations to the Government. The final decision is always taken by the Government,” he added.
Parakh had recently said Birla made a representation to the Prime Minister that the Steering Committee’s decision was unfair as they were first applicants.
Parakh had said he found that there was some clarity in Birla’s representation which made him re-examine the entire issue and found there is validity in their claim.
Parakh had said he made the recommendation that apart from Neyveli, Hindalco should also be included in this block and they should go as a 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.