Rubbish to say PM does not know: Parakh
Former coal secretary PC Parakh, who has been named in the 14th chargesheet filed by the CBI along with industrialist KM Birla in the coal scam, on Sunday asserted that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was aware of every aspect of coal block allocations.
“It is all rubbish if you say the PM doesn’t know,” he said, referring to External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid’s claim that the PM cannot go through all the files before signing them. Khurshid had said it was the responsibility of bureaucrats to go through each page.
Responding to this, Parakh told Express, “A fair decision was taken. The PM may not be able to go through all the files but the PMO has a number of officers who review the files and brief him. So, it is rubbish if you say the PM does not know.”
The PMO had, on Saturday, clarified that coal block allocation to a joint venture, including Birla’s Hindalco, was not done at the cost of Neyveli Lignite Corporation, a public sector company.
Parakh, who is presently a director in Tata Sponge Iron Ltd, also clarified he had not been in touch with anyone in the coal ministry after his retirement in December, 2005. Asked why he quit two companies — Hyderabad-based Navbharat Power Ltd and Visa Power Ltd — after brief stints, he replied, “I quit because directors themselves were fighting and the companies were not operating in a professional manner.”
Parakh, post-retirement, joined Navbharat in February, 2007 as a director and quit in January, 2008. He was a director in Visa Power Ltd between March, 2007 and January, 2008. The Navbharat Power, which was allocated a coal block in 2008 following its application in 2007 when Parakh was among its directors, was named in an FIR filed by the CBI in September last.
Parakh refuted reports that questioned his association with various companies for very short tenures. “Neither any applications were filed during my directorship nor did I help in getting any coal block allocations. These kind of allegations are unwarranted,” he said.