Indian tycoon accused in coal mining scandal


Police have named one of India’s leading industrialists as a suspect in a high-profile corruption inquiry into the alleged illegal allocation of coal blocks. Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman of conglomerate Aditya Birla Group, was accused of criminal conspiracy along with the government’s former coal secretary P.C. Parekh, a federal police agency said. India’s national auditor last year alleged that the coal ministry had given away billions of dollars in windfall gains to 100 private and some state-run firms — sparking a police probe into whether kickbacks were paid in exchange. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a first information report (FIR) on Tuesday claiming that Hindalco, a subsidiary of Aditya Birla Group, took coal allotments meant only for public sector companies, officials said. An FIR is the first step in a police investigation towards possible formal charges.