The special CBI court judge hearing a case related to the allocation of a coal block in 2008 said on Monday that he had been approached more than once by one of the accused, and warned defence lawyers against such a move being repeated.
The case involves alleged irregularities in allocation of the Amarkonda Murgadangal block in Jharkhand to two Jindal group companies, Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) and Gagan Sponge Iron Pvt Ltd (GSIPL).
As special court judge Bharat Parashar started the day’s proceedings, mainly scrutiny of documents, he told the Jindal group’s defence team that “it has happened again”.
“I am very sorry to say that with such senior lawyers appearing in the case, I had not expected that it would happen, but it has happened again. If this is happening without your knowledge, then I cannot say anything but this was not expected… if you want me to take it on record, I will do it,” the judge said.
The judge did not reveal the identity of the person who approached him or details of the previous instance when this had happened. The judge said that he would not mention the incident in the case record.
Senior Advocate Hariharan, from the defence team, replied, “The management has taken a strong note of it and we are taking action. I assure you that it will not happen again at all.”
Later, a spokesperson for JSPL said: “Neither our company nor our management or any person associated with our company have attempted to influence the honourable court as being alleged in the media. We are law abiding citizens, having regard and respect for the judiciary. We have full faith in the judiciary and we are confident that we will come out clean during course of the trial, on the merits of the case.”
In the case so far, the special court had taken cognisance of the CBI’s chargesheet and named Rajeev Jain, director of Jindal Realty Pvt Ltd, Girish Kumar Suneja, director of GSIPL, former minister of state for coal Dasari Narayan Rao and former Jharkhand CM Madhu Koda among the accused, apart from industrialist Naveen Jindal.