New Delhi, Oct. 25: The Prime Minister’s Office today handed over to the CBI all files relating to the controversial coal block allocation to Hindalco in Odisha.
The CBI has booked Hindalco, Aditya Birla Group chairperson Kumar Mangalam Birla and former coal secretary P.C. Parakh alleging corruption and criminal conspiracy in the allocation.
“We have got all the files relating to the allocation from the PMO today,” said CBI spokesperson Kanchan Prasad.
The PMO also told the agency it was ready to provide any further information, if required, in due course.
Early this week, the agency had written to the PMO seeking all files relevant to the Hindalco coal block allocation in 2005. Last week, the PMO had publicly defended its allocation decision.
“The Prime Minister is satisfied that the final decision taken in this regard was entirely appropriate and is based on the merits of the case placed before him,” a PMO statement had said.
CBI sources said the agency would examine the documents in detail before deciding its course of action.
“First of all, we want to know which PMO official handled the Hindalco case. We will question him if we find any discrepancy. The matter is under investigation and that’s why we need to have a look at all the relevant files before coming to any conclusion,” a CBI official said. He hinted that the agency might seek clarification from the Prime Minister as he held charge of the coal portfolio then.
The Prime Minister had yesterday said he was ready to face the CBI. “I am not above the law of the land. If the CBI or anybody for that matter wants to ask, I have nothing to hide.”
Parakh today said he had resigned in 2005 following “blackmail” from MPs on coal block allocations, but the Prime Minister had asked him to continue. “He asked me to stay on... he said the political situation being what it is, it is difficult to deal with these kind of issues,” the former coal secretary said. Asked if it showed the Prime Minister’s personal “frustration” at the situation, Parakh told Times Now: “Yes, in a way.”