Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar, who is dealing with all the coal scam related cases, fixed the matter for October 21 as special public prosecutor R S Cheema was not available for advancing arguments today. The CBI sought some time to advance the arguments on the closure report citing unavailability of Cheema and senior public prosecutor V K Sharma. On September 12, the court had asked CBI what was the hurry in closing the case in which FIR was registered against Birla, Parakh and others.
The observation of the court had come after the investigating officer (IO) in the case had contended that the original minutes of meeting of screening committee, in which Birla-owned Hindalco's application seeking allocation of coal blocks was dealt with, were "missing".
The agency had told the court that it has already lodged a PE (preliminary enquiry) regarding the missing documents. CBI had on August 28 filed a closure report in the case. The FIR against Birla, Parakh and others was registered in October last year by CBI which had alleged that Parakh had reversed his decision to reject coal block allocation to Hindalco within months "without any valid basis or change in circumstances" and shown "undue favours".
The FIR relates to allocation of Talabira II and III coal blocks in 2005. CBI had booked Birla, Parakh and other officials of Hindalco under various IPC sections, including criminal conspiracy and criminal misconduct on the part of government officials. In its FIR, the agency had alleged that during the 25th Screening Committee meeting, chaired by Parakh, applications of Hindalco and Indal Industries were rejected for mining in Talabira II and III "citing valid reasons".