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CoalGate: Looks Parakh the pawn, and many more like him are sacrificed only to....
The politics is the business of expediency and running a government is the game of chess where the king is protected till the very end and it is ensured by sacrificing pawns, who fortify the palace.

The UPA government and its approach in dealing with scams after scams proves this basic philosophy of governance that I heard while I was growing up in the politically conscious Bihar. The case of former union coal secretary PC Parakh in the coalgate scam is not only curious but perhaps a sad commentary as well.

PC Parakh has generally been hailed as an honest bureaucrat till his retirement in 2005 and considered an early whistleblower of the coalgate scam much before the Comptroller and Auditor General of India made the scam public in March 2012. Parakh was the man, who resisted the obsolete policy of first-come-first served for allocation of coal blocks and championed the policy of a transparent system of auction of coal mines blocks.

Now, it is in public domain that in July 2004, PC Parakh had warned Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about the scam in the making if the old policy of coal block allocation was followed. Parakh registered his opposition to the existing method of coal block allocation in writing categorically saying that the award of captive coal blocks could result in windfall profits for the beneficiary corporate houses.

If still not less than 142 coal blocks were allocated under Manmohan Singh’s nose, where is the culpability of Parakh? Clearly, he was overruled by the Prime Minister or his office.

Incidentally, PC Parakh had also strongly objected to and lodged a protest with the Prime Minister against political interference in the coal ministry and the intrusive role played by the then minister of state for coal Dasari Narayana Rao. There is no doubt left that Parakh tried his best as the coal secretary to defuse coalgate, but the political masters went unhindered.

It should also be recalled that PC Pararkh’s successor in the coal ministry as secretary, H C Gupta had taken cue from Parakh and continued opposition to the existing policy of coal block allocation. It is again in the public domain that on April 7, 2006, HC Gupta strongly opposed at a meeting held in PMO the manner in which coal blocks were being allocated.

He said that there was no legal basis for allocation of coal blocks by a screening committee as was being done then. It is no surprise that Gupta is also facing investigation for his alleged involvement in the coalgate scam.

This takes us to the moot point that all the pawns and commanders are being sacrificed in the hope to save the king. Now, one the valiant commanders has threatened to reveal the fortified secrets of the kingdom in an unambiguous signal to the king and the kingmaker that he is not okay with the idea of becoming the sacrificial lamb for the safety of the throne. That, the commander will not go without offering a fight.


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