Ex-Coal Secretary P C Parekh today alleged that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was the ‘’third conspirator’’ in the irregularities in connection with the 2005 allocation of Talabira II coal block in Odisha.
Mr Parekh, who was indicted alongwith industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla, by the CBI in an FIR yesterday, told reporters here that the Prime Minister, who was the final decision maker, should also have been named in the FIR.
‘’The CBI also should accuse him along with me and others if the probe agency found irregularities in the coal block allocation,’’ Mr Parekh said. The former Coal Secretary admitted that he had met Mr Birla, the chief of the Aditya Birla Group, and received a representation from him.
Mr Parekh was the Coal Secretary between between 2004-05. CBI teams from New Delhi, assisted by the Hyderabad unit, yesterday searched the residence of the ex-Coal Secretary at Secunderabad in the city. The agency had earlier registered a case under criminal conspiracy and the Prevention of Corruption Act against Parekh, Kumar Mangalam Birla and others for cheating and criminal conspiracy.
The FIR was the 14th filed by the agency in ‘Coalgate’. Agency sources said the Talabira II coal block in Odisha’s Jharsuguda district was initially allotted to state-owned Neyveli Lignite Corporation Limited.
The screening committee’s decision was overturned to accommodate Aditya Birla company Hindalco at the expense of NLC after the 2005 Birla-Parekh meeting. ‘CBI has records to conclude that Birla met the then Coal Secretary for undue favour for one of his subsidiary companies Hindalco,’ the sources said.
The agency conducted raids yesterday at six offices of Hindalco and the residences of its officials in Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Bhubaneswar and seized ‘incriminating documents’ which it will scrutinise during the course of the probe, the sources said.
Apart from Birla and Parekh, the FIR named Hindalco representatives and other unknown officials under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.