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Coalgate: I-T Seizes Rs 25 Cr Found At Hindalco Office

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Income Tax department has seized Rs 25 crore that was recovered by CBI here during searches at the office of Hindalco Industries, even as the probe agency claimed to have recovered more cash from the company in connection with its investigation in the coal scam.

"The cash has been seized under Income Tax laws and further proceedings to check the source of the money are on," an official said. Later, a spokesperson of the Aditya Birla group said they were cooperating with the probe agencies.

"The company is taken aback by the discovery of cash at one of its offices by the investigating agency. It has taken a very serious view of the matter and has instituted an internal team of senior managers to make a thorough investigation and report its findings at the earliest. "In the meantime, the company has reiterated to the Government agencies of their continued cooperation," a statement from the group said.

Meanwhile, CBI claimed to have made a fresh recovery from the group which included retail invoice of gold coins totalling to Rs 94 lakh, investments in various schemes to the tune of Rs 17 lakh besides Rs 24 lakh 'petty cash'.

The agency was likely to hand over these fresh documents to the Income Tax department, sources said.

I-T department will now ask the company to produce documents and validate the source of the recovered cash of Rs 25 crore, sources said. The CBI, during its searches conducted, at the fourth floor office of the UCO Bank building of the firm at Parliament Street in New Delhi, had found unaccounted Rs 25 crore in cash and incriminating documents. The agency had then sounded the I-T department.

Soon after registering FIR against former Coal Secretary P.C. Parakh, Aditya Birla Group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla and Hindalco Industries for alleged irregularities in allocation of Talabira II and III coal block eight years ago, searches were conducted by CBI at six locations. The searches were carried out in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bhubaneshwar.

CBI has registered the 14th FIR in the coal scam in the alleged "undue favours" shown to Birla by the then Coal Secretary. Sources said the probe is monitored by Supreme Court and CBI will inform the apex court of all developments that have taken place in its status report to be filed on 25 October.

They said they have strong evidence to buttress their claims in connection with the case and the allegations would be probed further during their probe in the case.

CBI sources said they have slapped charges of criminal misconduct on the part of the government official and that stands even if there is no quid pro quo.

The sources claimed that alleged favours shown to Birla in awarding Talabira II and III resulted in notional loss to the exchequer which are enough to book Parakh and Birla for criminal conspiracy.

Parakh and Hindalco have both refuted the allegations and claimed no wrong doing was involved in the decision.