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Coalgate: CBI registers closure report in K M Birla case

In a reprieve to industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla and others named as the accused in its First Information Report (FIR) in one of the coal blocks’ allocation scam cases, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a closure report in a court here.

CBI told the court it will file some documents. Judge Bharat Parashar fixed the closure report for consideration on September 1. The report was filed in the court on Thursday.

The FIR against Birla and former Union coal secretary P C Parakh was registered in October last year by CBI. It had said Parakh reversed his decision to reject the coal block allocation to Hindalco within months “without any valid basis or change in circumstances” and shown “undue favours”.

The FIR related to the allocation of Talabira-II and -III blocks in 2005. The CBI had booked Birla, Parakh and other officials of Hindalco under IPC sections including criminal conspiracy and criminal misconduct on the part of government officials.

But the CBI found no “quid pro quo” (Latin for a thing given in return for something else) on the part of Parakh and no wrongdoing in the allocation of blocks to Hindalco.

These recommendations were placed before the “Competent Authority” which agreed with Parakh, who later issued letters of allocation to the PSUs on June 16 and July 15 of 2005.

Within days, a “personal meeting” took place between Parakh and Birla in which the industrialist requested for the allocation of Talabira II coal block, CBI had said.

“Pursuant to these letters and personal meeting between Parakh and Birla, Parakh, by abusing his official position as a public servant recommended the allocation of Talabira II along with Talabira III coal block to Hindalco Industries Ltd, along with other two companies without any valid basis or change in circumstances and with the sole intention to show undue favours to Hindalco Industries Limited,” the agency had alleged in its FIR.

CBI had alleged that Parakh recommended formation of a joint venture between Mahanadi Coalfields, Neyveli Lignite and Hindalco with equity share holding of 70 per cent, 15 per cent and 15 per cent respectively.

The FIR had alleged that inclusion of Hindalco reduced the share of Neyveli Lignite in the coal field.

“Due to this arrangement, the proposed power project of the NLC could not take off as planned,” it had alleged.

Defending his decision, Parakh had said, “There is absolutely nothing wrong with the decision. It was a very fair and correct decision that we took. I don’t know why CBI thought that there is a conspiracy.”

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