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Questioning in Birla case over

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has completed questioning of “all concerned parties” in connection with its case against industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla and former Coal Secretary P C Parakh in the coal block allocation scam. The investigative agency will decide within a month whether it has enough evidence to file a chargesheet in the case.

CBI remained tight-lipped on whether it had questioned Birla regarding the allocation of the Talabira II block to his company Hindalco. Executives of the company have been quizzed, the agency confirmed. A senior official said Birla was not involved in the day-to-day functioning of the company and would not be aware of each application made for such allocations.

On July 7, the agency is going to present its status report in the coal scam to the Supreme Court.

So far, 18 FIRs have been registered in the scam. Out of these, four cases have been closed and two chargesheets have been filed

The agency said Parakh overturned the recommendation of the screening committee and made Hindalco a joint allottee in the allocation after his meeting with Birla, while the final decision was taken by a “competent authority”. CBI had earlier said it would inform the apex court about all the facts and evidence it has gathered in the case. CBI has not yet decided whether it will finally close the case or file a chargesheet in the matter.

The agency had also referred around 20 cases in the preliminary inquiry stage, on the apex court’s directions to the Central Vigilance Commission. CBI was of the view that there is no criminality in the 20 cases. The agency would decide its future course of action regarding these cases based on the apex court’s directions.

Some of the high profile cases that are still hanging in the coal scam include the Birla first information report and Congress leader Naveen Jindal’s case, in which former Minister of State for Coal Dasari Narayan Rao is also an accused.

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