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CBI to quiz PC Parakh in coal scam

Thursday, 17 April 2014 - 9:40am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

The CBI is miffed with former coal secretary PC Parakh for casting aspersions on it and its director Ranjit Sinha in his book 'Crusader or Conspirator?' Sources in the CBI told dna, quoting Sinha, that Parakh will be soon called in for "questioning".

In any case, Parakh is an accused in one of the 16 FIRs filed by the CBI in the coal scam, and he's bound to be called in for questioning. The cases are being monitored by the Supreme Court.

That said, what's got CBI's goat? Apparently, a whole lot that's written in the book, which questioned Sinha's motive, and the competence of his subordinates who, Parakh said, couldn't understand the difference "between a coal block and a coalmine".

Accusing the CBI of building its case on "falsehoods, half-truths and conjectures", Parakh wrote: "I wish Mr Sinha had done his homework carefully before accusing me of conspiracy and corruption... It is all very well for him to tell the media that if no evidence is found the FIR would be closed. But does he appreciate the irretrievable damage he has done to my reputation, earned over a lifetime?

"I have not abused my office, Mr Sinha. You have --- by accusing Mr Kumar Mangalam Birla and me of conspiracy and corruption. My recommendations were well within the boundaries of the declared government policy. But you have acted without proper understanding of facts, rules and laws. Perhaps to impress the Supreme Court and the people at large of your new-found freedom from the 'cage'."

In his book, Parakh asked Sinha why, if the CBI smelled conspiracy, did it not name the prime minister in its FIR, as a secretary can only "recommend", and it's the minister "who takes the decision".

Parakh's thrust was that the CBI was looking in the "wrong place" when it filed an FIR against him and Kumar Mangalam Birla after the CAG report on the coal scam was published. "The CBI is not equipped to find the truth," said Parakh.

"The entire investigation is in the hands of officers at the level of inspectors who have little understanding of the decision-making process in the government... I expected that either the CBI director or an officer one or two levels below him would interact with me. Certainly not inspectors of police who do not understand the difference between a coal block and a coalmine."

Parakh perhaps doesn't know that in high-profile cases, the CBI's "line of inquiry" and the questions to be asked are decided and vetted at the highest level, though the actual questioning may be done by inspector-rank CBI officials.

Parakh said he was "surprised at the CBI's naivete" when it registered a case against him. "...a team of a dozen officers landed at my door to search my flat eight years after I retired. I did not understand what they expected to find in my house. Neither did they," he wrote.

Parakh retired in 2005.


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