Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s request for allocation of Talabira-II coal block to Hindalco was approved by him on the advice of then Coal Secretary PC Parakh and examined by PMO officials, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has told the CBI.
He said Patnaik’s letter requesting a review of refusal to allocate the coal block to Kumar Mangalam Birla’s Hindalco had led to the “re-opening” of the issue.
During the probe into the alleged scam in Talabira-II coal-block allocation, Singh was asked by CBI, “When the letter dated August 17, 2005 of Naveen Patnaik addressed to you as PM had only requested to provide required coal linkage for the important project of M/s Hindalco, which was already allocated, why did you approve the accommodation of Hindalco in the share of coal in Talabira-II coal block.”
Responding to the query, Singh said, “This letter of CM of Odisha also mentioned about the allocation of Talabira-II coal block to M/s Hindalco Industries Ltd. This was required to be looked into by the Ministry of Coal.
“It was interpreted by the MoC that the request in the letter was regarding issue of allocation of Talabira-II coal block. This recommendation was approved by me after it was examined by the PMO officials,” said Singh, who was also the Coal Minister at that time.
“With regard to the query that giving coal block could be more beneficial financially to the company than giving a coal linkage as the price of coal from coal block is much cheaper than price of coal from coal linkage; I state that it is true of all allocations to the private sector,” Singh said.
( Source – PTI )