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There should not be any witch hunting: Assocham on Birla case

PTI | Last Updated: Friday, October 25, 2013 - 18:56

New Delhi: In view of the CBI filing a case against Kumar Mangalam Birla in coalgate, industry body Assocham on Friday said there should not be any "witch hunting" as it impacts the reputation of businesses operating in the country.

"It should not impact reputation and credibility of businesses because these are economic assets. There should not be any witch hunting," Assocham President Rana Kapoor told reporters at a conference here.

"We should not have any setbacks on morale of businesses. We feel the country's business confidence should not be shaken," he added.

The CBI earlier this month filed a case against Birla as a representative of Aditya Birla Group and his group company, aluminium maker Hindalco, for alleged corruption in the allocation of Talabira-II coal blocks in Odisha. They were allotted to the company on November 10, 2005.

"It is our endeavour to ensure that business confidence and trust is not eroded. We are on the threshold of economic revival, so don't want any speed breakers," Kapoor added.

Taking a strong note of the CBI case against Birla, Assocham had earlier this week sought Prime Minister's intervention to end the "environment of distrust" which had arisen due to "half-baked cases" against industry leaders, cautioning this could further impair decision making.

"We find ourselves in a situation where half-baked cases are being slapped against top leaders of the industry and retired bureaucrats based on perceptions, interpretations and mere inferences," Assocham had said in a letter to Manmohan Singh.

"We fear that more industrialists could be targets of the CBI probes which in all likelihood would not bring out any substantial evidence of any wrongdoing, but the problem is that the reputation of individual enterprises gets jolted," the letter said.

Parekh, who was Coal Secretary at the time of this allocation, was also named by CBI on the matter.

The Centre has been at the receiving end in the Supreme Court which has posed tough questions on why coal fields were allocated to private players without a transparent bidding process. It has also raised questions on the slow pace of probe by CBI in coal scam case.

First Published: Friday, October 25, 2013 - 18:53
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