New Delhi: With the Prime Minister's Office saying that the allocation of coal blocks to Hindalco had been "appropriate", CBI on Monday tried to put on a brave face saying all aspects of its FIR in the matter would be probed before any call on future action was taken.
"As of now, the investigation is going on. We will probe every aspect of the FIR before a future course of action is decided," said CBI spokesperson Kanchan Prasad.
She was replying to a query on whether CBI would close its FIR against Aditya Birla Group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla and former Coal Secretary PC Parakh over alleged irregularities in the allotment of the Talabira II and III coal blocks in Odisha to Hindalco.
When asked about plans to examine PMO officials in connection with the probe, she said the agency would carry out a thorough probe.
The FIR alleges that while the recommendations of the Screening Committee, which had rejected Hindalco's application citing "valid reasons", were being approved by the "competent authority", it received letters dated May 17, 2005, and June 17, 2005, from Birla requesting allocation of the Talabira II coal block, which were forwarded to the Ministry of Coal.
It alleged that Birla met Parakh during July, 2005, requesting allocation of the block.
"Pursuant to these letters and the meeting between Parakh and Birla, the former abused his official position and recommended the allocation of Talabira II along with Talabira III to Hindalco Industries without any valid basis or change in circumstances and with the sole intention to show undue favours," it alleged.
Rebutting the allegations, a statement from the PMO indicated that the "competent authority" referred to in the FIR was Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who had been holding charge of Coal ministry in the said period.
"The final decision differed from the earlier recommendation of the Screening Committee, and this was done following a representation received in the PMO from one of the parties," the statement said.
It said the Prime Minister was satisfied that the final decision taken in the regard had been "entirely appropriate" and based on the merits of the case placed before him.
Meanwhile, CBI would be filing 19 separate reports tomorrow before Supreme Court giving details of the progress made in the 14 FIRs registered by it in the coal scam along with the three preliminary enquiries (PE) from which these FIRs originated and the two PEs related to missing files.
First Published: Monday, October 21, 2013, 23:17