The CBI on Thursday grilled former coal secretary PC Parakh for eight hours, who allegedly abused his official position to grant a coal block to Hindalco, a company of the Aditya Birla Group.
“Parakh appeared before the CBI at its headquarters around 11 am and was grilled for over eight hours. He was thereafter let off. He has been asked to appear tomorrow again for questioning,” said a senior CBI official, adding that “many things have been left for verification and cross-examination.”
In the earlier summons issued on April 22, the agency had told him to appear on April 25, but he had expressed his inability to do so. The CBI then served fresh summons to the former bureaucrat for appearing before it on May 1, 2014. The investigators alleged that Parakh misused his official position in granting a coal block to Odisha based-Hindalco.
The screening committee had allotted the Talabira-II coal block to public sector undertaking Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC), but the decision was changed by Parakh after he reportedly received a request from the Prime Minister’s Office for reconsideration of the decision following Birla group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla’s request.
Thereafter, Hindalco was allowed to share the block with NLC. However, Parakh refuted the allegations of the CBI and has also published a book on it.
The agency registered a case against Parakh, Birla and unknown officials of Hindalco and the Coal Ministry in this regard.
It has been alleged that Parakh had entered into a criminal conspiracy with Kumar Mangalam Birla, the chief of Aditya Birla Group, some officials of Hindalo and the Coal Ministry for allowing Hindalco to share the coal Talabira-II coal block with NLC causing loss to the exchequer.
The agency has already questioned TK Nair from the PMO and also Dasari Narayana Rao, who was the former minister of State for Coal.