Coalgate: Former top bureaucrats back ex-coal secretary’s accusation against PM

NEW DELHI (TIP): Former top bureaucrats have come out in support of ex-Coal Secretary P C Parakh, who has been named by CBI in the coal blocks allocation scam, warning that harassment of honest officers will erode Government’s credibility and stop senior officers from taking decisions. “Parakh, as I have known him, is an honest, competent officer. While I do not wish to comment on the CBI investigation as such, as I do not have all the facts, I am at a loss to understand how an FIR has been filed only against him and no one in the PMO and no Minister,” said E A S Sarma, former Coal Secretary. If it is a case of conspiracy, all the conspirators should be taken into account. I hope there is no conspiracy!, said Sarma, a former IAS officer. “I feel that investigations in such cases should be objective and uninfluenced by extraneous pressures. A clear distinction must be made between decisions taken in good faith and malafide decisions. It is unfortunate that dishonest Ministers, politicians and officers should be let off and honest officers harassed.

It will only erode the credibility of the government which has already been on the decline in the recent times,” he said. Sarma said he has written to CVC on June 15 last year requesting it to initiate an investigation into the role of the PMO in the coalgate affair and three other scams. “I reminded CVC at least two times after that. There has been no visible response from CVC on my letters,” Sarma said. Former Cabinet Secretary T S R Subramanian said such kind of action by CBI against Parakh will stop others from taking decisions. “There are all kind of bureaucrats, good, bad, honest… There has to be a reasonable basis for any action by the agency,” he said. “According to the FIR, it was said Parakh met Kumar Mangalam Birla. As Cabinet Secretary, I used to meet ten bureaucrats, ten politicians and ten businessmen daily. Should that mean that I be also made an accused?” he asked. Parakh wanted the system to be changed for good, rued Subramanian. The former Cabinet Secretary also felt that there was an “ulterior motive” behind the move to name Parakh as an accused. “If he has been made an accused, he could be crippled as a witness. There could be an ulterior motive,” he said.

Nothing to hide on coal blocks, need no certificate: Government
The government has nothing to hide on the coal block allocations, which were done on basis of recommendations of state governments, and it does not need certificates from anybody, senior ministers said Thursday. Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office V. Narayanasamy told reporters here it has been the government’s stand that allocations have been made to public sector undertakings and some private companies “on the recommendations of state governments where coal blocks were available”. “We have nothing to hide,” he said. Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, meanwhile, hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party over its demand of the prime minister’s resignation, and said the government does not need certificates. Narayanasamy did not comment on former coal secretary P.C. Parakh’s claim that it was Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who decided on the allocation of two Odisha coal blocks in 2005, over which the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a first information report (FIR) Tuesday. “The matter is sub judice.

It is being investigated by the CBI,” the minister said. The FIR named Parakh and industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla for alleged irregularities and criminal conspiracy in the allocation of the two blocks. Parakh said he did not know why the CBI thought Birla and he were in a conspiracy, when the person who took the decision was not part of it. “If a conspiracy is there, everyone is part of the conspiracy. If we are accused, the PM is as much a part of the conspiracy,” he contended. Asked about Parakh’s remarks, Sharma said the fundamental question was whether “everything be questioned” once a decision was taken. “Now who is going to give certificate to prime minister of India, who is globally respected, or to his ministers? I don’t think we need certificates,” Sharma told Times Now TV channel. The prime minister did nothing wrong by signing the coal allocation file, he said. An atmosphere where ministers or bureaucracy do not sign papers out of fear was a “recipe for disaster”, Sharma said, contending the economic environment has been vitiated over the past three years. “You cannot hold decision making to ransom so that nobody takes a decision, everybody is fearful,” he said. The BJP Wednesday said that the prime minister should take “final responsibility” for irregularities in the allocation of coal blocks, and resign.

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