New Delhi: Amid strong reactions over CBI`s FIR against top industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla in the coal scam, Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh on Wednesday urged caution in proceeding in the case saying that while "we are witch hunting", the country is forced to import coal to feed its thermal power stations.
"The government, the judiciary and everyone should note that despite one of the largest coal reserves, we are witch hunting and importing coal to feed our thermal power plants," Singh said.
As to former coal secretary PC Parekh`s statement that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should also be made an accused in the coal scam case, Singh remarked: "He is a free man. He is free to make any statement; but instead of making statements, he should say whatever he says in front of CBI."
The comments by Singh followed close on the heels of Corporate Affairs Minister Sachin Pilot`s remark that it must be ensured that such actions are based on `hard facts` as they dampen business confidence and investor sentiment.
Such actions should not end up creating an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty, Pilot added.
A number of industry leaders have expressed concern over the CBI action against Birla, who heads the USD 40-billion Aditya Birla Group, which has interests spread across metals, mining, cement, retail, telecom, technology and financial sectors, among others.
Among those voicing their concerns on the issue were Deepak Parekh, Ajay Piramal, Nimesh Kampani and TV Mohandas Pai, as also some industry chambers.
Earlier in the day, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma also termed the development unfortunate and said it could raise questions over investor confidence in the country.