Coal scam: Will PM read every page before signing files, says Salman Khurshid

By Supriya Jha | Last Updated: Sunday, October 20, 2013 - 17:23

Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha

New Delhi: Defending the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in connection with the alleged irregularities in the allocation of Talabira coal blocks to Hindalco, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid backed the PMO statement and said that the PM was not supposed to go through the nuances of the file before signing it.

"A file comes to the PMO, and then the office analyses the file and sends it to the Prime Minister…Do you expect the PM to read each page before signing it? I have been a minister. If things work like this, nothing will be accomplished?” Khurshid said.

"There is no conspiracy. We took a decision. We put up a file and accepted it,” he added.

Khurshid’s comments come a day after the Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement defending the ceding of the Talabira-II and III coal blocks in Odisha to Hindalco.

The PMO’s statement in turn was prompted by former coal secretary PC Parakh’s remarks after he was named in the 14th FIR filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation wherein he said that if he was a conspirator in the case, then the PM should be “third conspirator” as he was the one who took the final decision.

Refuting any irregularities in the allocation of the coal blocks, the PMO said that the approval of the allocation of the coal blocks to industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla’s company was appropriate.

The PMO statement said, “The Prime Minister is satisfied that the final decision taken in this regard was entirely appropriate and is based on the merits of the case placed before him.”

The PMO added that the case was under investigation by the CBI and “no impediment is being placed” on the investigating agency which may have a bearing on the case.

The entire furore was triggered after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in its latest chargesheet registered FIRs against industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla and his company and former Coal Secy PC Parakh in connection with the allocation of Talabira-II and III coal blocks in Odisha to Hindalco for its 650MW captive power plant in its integrated aluminium project in Sambalpur and for a 100MW captive plant for the expansion of its Hirakud aluminium plant in Odisha.

Reacting to CBI’s FIR, Parakh had said, “There is KM Birla who made the representation, he is one conspirator. I, who examined the case and made a recommendation, I can be another conspirator and the Prime Minister, who as the Coal Minister, took the final decision, is the third conspirator”.

“If there is a conspiracy, then there are different members in this conspiracy,” Parakh had said.

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First Published: Sunday, October 20, 2013 - 10:30

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