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As industry voiced concern over the CBI naming industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla in a case, petroleum minister M Veerappa Moily on Friday said investigating agencies and the judiciary must ensure that India does not become like Russia, where investors are not prepared to go and billionaires are put behind bars.
Moily said India is not under “Aurangzeb’s rule” but under rule of law, where action has to be taken based on cogent evidence, not just on mere perception.
“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 should be in accordance with strict rule of law. And ultimately, on mere perception you cannot proceed against anybody unless there is cogent evidence to proceed with,” he told reporters here.
Moily was replying to a question about the CBI naming Hindalco Industries chairman Birla in an FIR against the aluminium and copper maker as part of its probe into alleged irregularities in the allotment of coal-mining licenses.
Moily said the CBI has proceeded in the matter on certain lines, which, if based on evidence, “nobody can question” but 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. The job of ensuring that India does not become like Russia rests not just with the government but also with the judiciary and the CBI, he said.
Meanwhile, the Congress party saw nothing wrong in Birla meeting finance minister P Chidambaram, and continued to dodge questions on the CBI not naming the Prime Minister, who was then the coal minister.