PMO gives Hindalco coal block files to CBI
The Prime Minister’s Office on Friday handed over to the CBI files related to allocation of the Talabira II & III coal blocks in Orissa to Hindalco. “The CBI had sought the file related to the allocation. We gave the file and got the receipt,” a PMO official said. The CBI on October 15 had booked industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman of the Aditya Birla Group, and P.C. Parakh for alleged irregularities in the allocation of the Talabira blocks to his (Mr Birla’s) private firm, Hindalco, in late 2005.
Sources said the CBI will now scrutinise the files, sent by the PMO, to see if they contain an explanation on why former coal secretary P.C. Parakh had overturned the 25th Screening Committee’s recommendations, which benefited Hindalco. The PMO told the CBI that it is ready to provide any other information, if required, about the allocation of the Talabira coal blocks in 2005. The Prime Minister has already defended the decision as entirely appropriate and based on merits of the case presented to him.
PM Manmohan Singh, who headed the coal ministry when the Talabira coal blocks were allocated to Hindalco, on Thursday said he was ready to face the CBI in the matter as he has nothing to hide.