Kumar Mangalam Birla not worried by CBI FIR against him
New Delhi: Even as he drew all round support from industry and some ministers, Kumar Mangalam Birla today broke his silence rubbishing CBI charges against him in a coal block allocation case saying he was not worried as no wrong has been committed.
Birla, Chairman of the Aditya Birla group flagship firm Hindalco, met Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Revenue Secretary Sumit Bose and later told reporters that he had discussed the FIR issue with the minister.
"As of now I am not worried about it. There is nothing wrong (that) has been done. So why should one worry?"
He was asked whether the CBI FIR naming him and Hindalco in the coalgate scam would cast a shadow on the Aditya Birla Group's application for a bank licence.
Meanwhile, industry body CII today joined others in slamming the FIR against Birla but issued a nuanced statement saying while CBI had the right to proceed against anyone it should be careful before taking action against reputed industrialists to avoid creating a sense of fear.
Without referring to the Birla case, CII chief Kris Gopalakrishnan said, "It is desirable to ensure that all facts of the case are laid upfront before proceeding against respected and reputed individuals."
He said that reputations of institutions and individuals take years to build and therefore, extreme caution needs to be exercised before any action is taken, which jeopardises reputation that institutions and individuals build for themselves.
At the same time, he cautioned, "Every effort should be made to ensure that there is no atmosphere of fear created, when it comes to decision making. Swift decisions and transparent policy environment are prerequisites of an enabling business climate. This is best done if the Government and Industry work together."
Infosys Executive Chairman N R Narayana Murthy said any acquisition against Birla without a detailed set of facts was unlikely to go well with both Indian and international investors.
"Kumar is one of the most respected business people, therefore any accusation against Kumar without a detailed set of facts is not likely to go well in the eyes of the investors…It is very very important for the authorities to be 100 per cent certain about the facts and data.
Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily cautioned against India becoming like Russia, where investors dread to go and billionaires are jailed.
"I am not here to give a value judgement on that but at the same time I think the time has come to ensure that whatever we do it should be in accordance with strict rule of law. And ultimately on mere perception you cannot proceed against anybody unless there is a cogent evidence to proceed with," he told reporters here.
Moily said the CBI has proceeded in the matter on certain lines, which if it is based on evidence, "nobody can question them".
"If not, then we should be careful. Because ultimately India cannot become just like Russia where investors are not prepared to go and billionaires are put behind the bars. That should not happen here," he said.