Ex-Coal Secretary P C Parakh accuses CBI of ‘witch hunt’ against him

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New Delhi, Apr 13: Former Coal Secretary P C Parakh, against whom the CBI has registered a case for allegedly favoring Hindalco in coal block at Odisha, has accused CBI Director Ranjit Sinha of having acted against him to impress the Supreme Court and wondered why he chose not to mention Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the conspiracy because he had taken the decision in the matter.

At the same time to be fair to the Prime Minister, he said at no time the PMO made recommendation or exerted pressure in favor of any party.

In his book ‘Crusader or Conspirator? Coalgate and Other Truths’, which will be released tomorrow, Parakh has said the CBI was indulging in “witch hunting” and has brought out the problems faced by bureaucrats while serving the ministers and politicians at large and accused Sinha of having acted without “proper understanding” of the facts, rules and laws.

“Perhaps to impress the Supreme Court and the people at large of your new found freedom from the cage,” Parakh has remarked in his book hinting towards the observation made by the apex court when it had termed the CBI as “caged parrot”. Reacting to the personal attack, CBI Director Ranjit Sinha told PTI that “we can reply to all the accusations point by point but since the case is being monitored by the Supreme Court, I will not say anything.”

He termed the book as a “typical babu book where the author has indulged in self-glorification”. In his book, the former IAS officer from Andhra Pradesh, questioned the decision of CBI to registered a case against him and Kumarmanglam Birla for alleged conspiracy in handling over the Talabira-II coal block to Hindalco and not registering a case against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was incharge of the coal ministry.

“If Mr Sinha was convinced that the Hindalco allocation was a conspiracy and had he the courage of conviction, he ought to have named the Prime Minister in the conspiracy,” Parakh said.

Though, Parakh, 68, writes that it was his decision to bring in Hindalco for Talabira coal project and that there was no pressure exerted on him by the PMO in this case, he, however, raised nine questions in his book, published by Manas Publications, asking why were not the files of PMO scrutinized before naming him in the FIR.

“If the CBI smelled conspiracy and corruption, why did it not name the Prime Minister in the FIR?” he asked and asserted that any Secretary only recommends to the Minister and the final decision has to be taken by the political executive.

The author said “however, it must be said to the credit of the Prime Minister that at no time did the PMO make recommendations or exert pressure in favor of any party. Even in the case of Hindaclo, where the CBI has decided to register an FIR, the request was only to re-examine the case on merit.”

About his meeting with Birla, Parakh asked whether a law existed which prevented a civil servant to meet a citizen (Birla) who was feeling aggrieved over the government decision not to allocate coal block.

“Does re-examining a matter by a civil servant, based on the representation of an aggrieved party, by itself amounts to conspiracy and corruption? Where was abuse of power in this case?” Parakh, who retired in December 2005, asked.