Coalgate: Zee Business exposes nexus between Naveen Patnaik, KM Birla
Zee Media Bureau/Rohit Chadha
New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that recently registered a case against industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla in connection with alleged irregularities in allocation of coal blocks in 2005, has created a lot of furore among corporate leaders.
A Zee Business exclusive report on Aditya Birla-promoted firm Hindalco Industries has exposed the nexus between Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and industrialist KM Birla.
The Zeebiz exclusive highlights the following points:
• In 1994, Talbira -1 coal block was allotted to Hindalco for captive use.
• In 1999, conditional grant order and T&C was signed with Indalco.
• In 2003, Government of Odisha granted surface rights to Hindalco and mining operation started in the same year in the name of Hindalco and not in the name of Indalco which was given conditional grant order in 1999.
• As per the law, prior approval of the state government as well as the Centre for change of transfer of ownership in the name of a different company is required, which was not done in this case and amounted to gross violation of Rule 37 of the agreement.
• Not only this, the company flouted rules for its benefit. In 2005, Deputy Director General of Mines wrote two letters with supporting documents that claimed coal from Talabira-1 is being sold in the open market by Hindalco. But the state government took no action against the violating company. Moreover, in 2005 Chief Minister Patnaik recommended and wrote a letter to Prime Minister that Hindalco should be given share in Talibara-2 coal block as well.
According to National Election Watch, Kumar Manglam Birla's company, Aditya Birla group provided Naveen Patnaik's Biju Janta Dal with massive funds.
National Election Watch website shows that Aditya Birla group gave Rs. 5 crore as party fund to BJD in the year 2009-10. As per sources, the company made the payments through two cheques of HDFC bank (numbers 102768 and number 102770). Aditya Birla group funded BJD in 2013 as well.
However, the PMO has flatly denied such accusations and said that the company was allotted coal block in compliance with rules and regulations.
However, according to the India Today magazine, PM Manmohan Singh is in talks with private lawyers over the matter. But the big question is - how much importance should be given to PMO's clean chit to the Birlas.
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