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India Inc. warns of Hindalco coal case impact on investors

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  13 March 2015 12:00 AM GMT

New Delhi, March 12: Even as the government said the ongoing coal blocks auctions have already realised over Rs.two lakh crore, India Inc on Thursday cautioned that summons to industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla as an accused in the coal scam case could have repercussions “on overall investor sentiment”. “While we have the highest regard for the judicial process, such developments do have a bearing on the overall investor sentiment,” Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) secretary general A. Didar Singh said here in a statement.

“At a time when the government is making all efforts to create a transparent, efficient and equitable regime for investments such developments tend to create a needless trust deficit between industry, government and society,” he added.

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on Wednesday said such orders can create “uncertainty and anxiety among investors” and dissuade them from investing in the country.

“It is our belief that Birla represents the progressive face of Indian industry, which does not indulge in crony capitalism and carries out his businesses by the book,” it said.

Expressing concern about the trial court order against Hindalco relating to the allocation of Talabira-II and III coal block in Odisha, the CII added: “Creation of an atmosphere of uncertainty sends a wrong sigl to investors.”

Associated Chambers of Commerce of India (Assocham) president Ra Kapoor sought an environment where industrialists and corporate leaders can openly consult with members of the government, bureaucracy and regulators as a part of their normal business conduct without the fear of future legal and investigative repercussions.

“This is a practice across most developed economies, and also being followed in our country India for decades where top business leaders regularly meet ministers and bureaucrats for organisatiol objectives,” Kapoor said in a statement.

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Birla and former coal secretary P.C. Parakh were summoned as accused by a special Central Bureau of Investigation court, which observed that the former prime minister was roped into the crimil conspiracy to accommodate Hindalco in the Talabira-II block allocation in 2005.

Hindalco on Wednesday denied that any of its officials had pursued any unlawful or ippropriate means to secure allocation of the Talabira block.

“Hindalco reiterates that none of its officials, including its chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla, have pursued any unlawful or ippropriate means for securing the allocation of the coal block,” the company said in a statement.

It said it “cooperated with investigating authorities completely during the course of investigation” and was confident that it would “stand vindicated at the end of the ongoing legal process”. Aditya Aluminium Project, for which this allocation was made, has been implemented by the company at an investment of over Rs.13,000 crore. (IANS)

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