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Birla case discussed at 10 Downing Street: Anil Agarwal

Industry captains fear CBI action would dampen confidence of both domestic and foreign investors

Kumar Mangalam Birla
Kumar Mangalam Birla
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Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla's name appearing in an in coal allotment case came up for discussion at British Prime Minister's official residence, Group chief Anil Agarwal claimed today while terming the action as shocking.

Industry captains have already expressed apprehensions that the CBI action would dampen confidence of both domestic and foreign investors.

"This (naming Birla in the FIR) is definitely a shock... any country can move ahead only with the help of the industry, which needs to be supported by the government that in turn can create jobs," Vedanta Chairman Agarwal told reporters here.

He claimed that the issue also figured during a dinner meet he had at the 10, Downing Street, the official residence of British Prime Minister earlier this week.

Agarwal and Sinha were talking to a select group of journalists after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had a meeting captains of the industry here.

Consulting firm Boston Consulting Group chairman for Asia Pacific Janmejaya Sinha said while the law should be allowed to take its own course an FIR should not be filed merely on the basis of suspicion.

"It should not be on the basis of suspicion, but on evidence. Rule of the law has to be there, but if we move just on suspicion, then it affects investment climate," he said.

The CBI had earlier this week registered an FIR against Birla and charged him criminal conspiracy to get coal blocks allocated to his group firm Hindalco. According to CBI, Birla influenced the November 10, 2005 decision of the coal ministry to get two coal blocks at Talabira in Odisha.

The agency also named former coal secretary P C Parakh in the FIR.

Many senior industry leaders, including consumer goods maker Godrej's Adi Godrej and Deepak Parekh of HDFC, apart from industry chambers, have already criticised the move.

Several Union ministers including Veerappa Moily, Anand Sharma, Sachin Pilot and Milind Deora have also come out against the move.

Deepak Parekh reiterated his displeasure over the move again today, saying such actions vitiated the investment climate.

"The corporate world is very upset. Investment climate gets vitiated because of this," Parekh said.

The country is not able to attract much of foreign investments and domestic entrepreneurs are also investing abroad, he said, adding "we need to make a conducive climate for at least the local companies to invest here."

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