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Manmohan ‘keeps word’, PMO hands over coal file to CBI



‘The CBI had sought the file related to the allocation. We gave the file and got the receipt,’ a PMO official said. The PMO told the CBI that it is ready to provide any other information, if required, about the allocation of Talabira coal block made in 2005. The prime minister, who has been under opposition attack over the allocation to Hindalco promoted by Kumar Mangalam Birla, has defended the decision as ‘entirely appropriate’ and based on merits of the case presented to him.

A controversy had erupted over the allocation after the CBI registered an FIR against Birla and former coal secretary PC Parakh last week. Parakh has said if he is accused of conspiracy, then the prime minister should also be made an accused as he had approved the revised decision, prompting the BJP to demand his resignation.

While defending the decision, the PMO last week issued a statement acknowledging that the final decision of 1 October 2005 ‘differed’ from the earlier recommendation of the screening committee.

Meanwhile, Parakh said the CBI had failed to appreciate issues involved in the case even as he appreciated the prime minister for asserting that the decision was right. He said the CBI contention that Birla met him and the prime minister and after that the decision was reversed does not show the slightest element of criminality.

‘It was very gracious on the part of the prime minister to say yes the decision was right and if the CBI has anything to ask they are free to ask,’ he told reporters. 
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