On Friday evening, billionaire Kumar Mangalam Birla met Finance Minister P Chidambaram and said among other issues two had discussed the first information report or FIR filed against him by the CBI in the coal scam.The matter is critical for the government as Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh headed the coal ministry for a some time in 2005 when the coal block in Odisha was allotted to Hindalco, one of the largest aluminium makers in Asia, being investigated by the CBI.
The chairman of the $40 billion Aditya Birla Group is a soft-spoken person and he avoided reporters as he arrived at the Finance Ministry in Delhi’s North Block.
Mr Birla, spoke to them after the meeting, saying, “I have done nothing wrong. I am not worried about the FIR.”
The Central Bureau of Investigation or CBI in its 14th FIR named Mr Birla, his company Hindalco and ex- Coal Secretary PC Parakh in the coal block allocation scam three days ago. CBI has accused Mr Birla of cheating and conspiracy by showing “undue favour” to Hindalco in 2005.
India Inc has warned that the CBI’s turn against Mr Birla, a leading industrialist with business interests in 40 countries all over the world, could discourage investor feeling at a time when the country faces an economic crisis.
TodayIndustry body CII said in a statement,”Reputations of institutions and individuals take years to build and therefore, extreme caution needs to be exercised before any action is taken, which jeopardizes reputation that institutions and individuals build for themselves.”