Ministers, India Inc raise concerns over FIR against Birla
New Delhi: Two union ministers Wednesday joined industry in expressing concerns over CBI naming reputed industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla in coal scam case as both felt that it could hurt investor and business confidence.
Corporate Affairs Minister Sachin Pilot said such a development will dampen investment sentiment while Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma termed it as unfortunate.
"While no one is above the law and wrong doers have to be brought to justice, we must ensure that such actions are based on hard facts and do not create an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty," Pilot said.
"Recent incidents will certainly dampen business confidence and investment sentiment, both domestic and foreign; and perhaps also negatively affect decision making by bureaucrats and policy makers," he said.
Describing the development as "unfortunate", Anand Sharma said it could raise questions over investor confidence in the country.
In a veiled criticism of CBI, Sharma said the authorities should not "play to the gallery and create an environment of sensation and shock".
"So, the larger question which comes up is that whether we have an environment which is conducive to decision making and also which gives confidence to the investors and to the corporate world," Sharma said.
A number of industry leaders have also expressed their concerns over the CBI action against Kumar Mangalam Birla, who heads USD 40-billion business conglomerate, Aditya Birla group which is present across sectors like metals, mining, cement, retail, telecom, technology and finance.
Those who have voiced their concerns include Deepak Parekh, Ajay Piramal, Nimesh Kampani and T V Mohandas Pai, as also some industry chambers.
Describing the development as unfortunate, former Infosys board member Mohandas Pai said, "It seems investigating agencies have run amok. Unless one has strong evidence, targeting business leaders will have a bad impact on the economy."
"Kumar Mangalam Birla is a very reputed industrialist and comes from an iconic family. The industry stands by him. This is not a very good thing for the confidence of the industry," President of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry Suman Jyoti Khaitan said.
Questioning the timing of the filing of the FIR, he said: "The allegation against him is about something which happened eight years ago...We wonder what the investigating agency was doing ever since and why they have woken up now."
Assocham Secretary General D S Rawat said the development would certainly raise a question in the minds of the industry people.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has booked Birla as a representative of Aditya Birla Group and his group company, aluminium maker Hindalco, for alleged corruption in the allocation of Talabira two coal blocks in Odisha which was allotted to it on November 10, 2005.