“It is very important that this government, which has done a lot of good things, takes this up on an urgent basis,” he said when asked whether the coal block allocation case would scare the civil servants and delay decision making. The recent court summon to ex PM Manmohan Singh, former coal secretary PC Parakh and Hindalco chief Kumar Mangalam Birla as accused in the coal block allocation case, has jolted India Inc at a time when the government is seeking to revive sentiment and boost growth.
While Murthy said he did not have the details of the coal block allocation case, he urged caution until a particular businessman, politician or bureaucrat is proven guilty. “I have known Mr Kumar Mangalam Birla for a long time. He is a good man. He is a decent man. He is very much a progressive modern business leader of this country,” said Murthy.
“It is very important that as we move forward, we ensure that people like him, and there are many others among bureaucrats, among politicians and amongst business people, that we do not get their names maligned unless they are guilty,” he said. He said there has to be a recognition that for any accelerated economic growth there will be interaction among politicians, businessmen and bureaucrats.
“So, a mechanism that enhances transparency of such interactions is very important. We have to remove the current impediment of fear in the minds of all the three in engaging with the other,” Murthy said. “Invite some well known politicians from all parties, invite some well known retired bureaucrats, invite some well respected business people and then say what is that we can do? Maybe, we need some retired judiciary people too. And, then say ‘what is that we need to do so that none of these people have any sense of fear in participating in the growth of this country’,” he said.
Lauding the government’s move to auction coal blocks and telecom spectrum Murthy said there was a need to provide transparency, clarity and speed in every decision for allocation of all public resources.
“The current government has indeed changed the perception of businessmen in India and outside India. I am just coming back from abroad. I think there is a positive sentiment once again for India and therefore at this point of time it is a good idea for us to ensure that such a positive sentiment is indeed enhanced,” Murthy said.