Former Coal Minister Dasari Narayana Rao was on Monday questioned by the CBI in connection with alleged irregularities in allocation of Talabira-II coal block in which Aditya Birla Group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla and former Coal Secretary P C Parakh are accused.
Rao was summoned to the CBI headquarters this morning and quizzed about the allocation of Talabira-II coal block at Odhisa to Hindalco despite the screening committee giving it to Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) Neyveli Lignite Limited.
66-year-old Rao, a Congress MP from Andhra Pradesh, was Minister of State for Coal between 2004 to 2006 and in his second term from 2006 to 2008.
Rao, who has been Rajya Sabha member from 2000 to 2012, was not immediately available for comments. Rao along with former Coal Minister Shibu Soren has been accused by Parakh in his book on coal scam as those responsible for scuttling reforms in the Coal minsitry.
CBI is likely to question Parakh this week as the agency has finished examining top executives of the Rs 2.4 lakh crore Birla company in connection with the allocation.
However, no decision to summon the group’s chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla has been taken so far, sources said. CBI had registered a case naming 46-year-old Birla, Parakh and unknown officials of Hindalco and coal ministry last year under various sections pertaining to criminal conspiracy and corruption for alleged irregularities in the allocation of coal blocks nine years back.
The probe in the case gained momentum after the agency took written answers from T K A Nair, Advisor to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in connection with entire coal scam especially on Talabira-II.
Nair had denied any wrongdoing in allocation of coal blocks to Hindalco. Registering of a case against Birla and Parakh was criticized by India Inc and former bureaucrats.
A decision on filing a closure report or a charge sheet will be taken by the CBI after completing the investigations in the case, sources said.