Congress leader and industrialist Naveen Jindal and 14 others, including former minister of state for coal Dasari Narayan Rao and ex-Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda, were summoned on Wednesday as accused by a Special court in the Jharkhand’s Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block allocation scam case.
Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar directed all the accused, including five firms, to appear before his court on May 22.
The court summoned them for alleged offences punishable under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating) and 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant) of the IPC and under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
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Besides Jindal, Rao and Koda, the other seven individual accused summoned by the court are former coal secretary H C Gupta and six others – Gyan Swaroop Garg, Suresh Singhal, Rajeev Jain, Girish Kumar Suneja, R K Saraf and K Ramakrishna Prasad.
The five firms which have been summoned as accused in the case are JSPL, Jindal Realty Pvt Ltd, Gagan Infraenergy Ltd, New Delhi Exim Pvt Ltd and Soubhagya Media Ltd.
The court summoned them as accused after taking cognizance of the CBI charge sheet.
“I am summoning all the 15 accused under sections 120-B, 420 and 409 of the IPC read with 13(1)(c) and 13(1)(d) (criminal misconduct by a public servant) of the Prevention of Corruption Act(PCA),” the judge said.
The CBI had chargesheeted all the accused for the offences of 120-B read with 420 of the IPC and section 13(2) (punishment for public servant committing criminal misconduct) read with 13(1)(d) of PCA.
While pronouncing the order, the court said Naveen Jindal, Suneja, Saraf, JSPL and Gagan Infraenergy Ltd were being summoned on substantive offence of cheating while Rao and Gupta have been summoned for substantive offences under section 409 of the IPC and 13(1)(c) and 13(1)(d) of PCA.
The court said that it was summoning Koda for substantive offence under section 13(1)(d) of PCA.
CBI had on April 29 filed the charge sheet filed in the case relating to alleged irregularities in allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in Jharkhand’s Birbhum district in 2008 to Jindal Group firms — Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) and Gagan Sponge Iron Pvt Ltd (GSIPL).
Court on April 30 had fixed the matter for Wednesday for considering the charge sheet.
CBI has alleged in the charge sheet that Jindal group firms had misrepresented facts to acquire the coal block in 2008.
In its FIR lodged in the case, CBI had alleged that Jindal group was shown favour by the Jharkhand Government which had dropped other firms from its recommendation for allocation of coal block in the state in 2007.
The FIR was categorical that Ministry of Power was against the proposal for allocating Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block to JSPL and GSIPL.
JSPL, in a statement, had denied the allegations made against it and its management and had said that it would take appropriate remedy in accordance with law.
In its FIR, the CBI had said that the Jharkhand government had on June 20, 2007 recommended allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block to three companies namely (1) M/s Lanco Infratech Ltd (40 per cent), (2) M/s JSPL (30 per cent) and (3) M/s GSIPL (30 per cent).
“However vide its letter dated July 30, 2007, Government of Jharkhand changed its recommendation and recommended the allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal block to only the two Naveen Jindal Group companies i.e. JSPL (70 per cent) and M/s GSIPL (30 per cent),” the FIR had said.
It had also alleged that both JSPL and GSIPL had misrepresented facts in its application/feed back form on the count of their preparedness in setting up their proposed end used plant as well the previous allocation of coal blocks to their group companies.
Regarding Rao, CBI had claimed that in order to influence the decision of the Screening Committee in favour of JSPL and GSIPL, the then Minister of State for Coal had written a note on July 27, 2007 to the Coal Secretary, who was also Chairman of the Screening Committee.
It had said that JSPL had submitted its application for coal block allocation in January 2007 to the Coal Ministry for securing few blocks earmarked for power sector, including Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in Jharkhand for its proposed 1000 MW captive power plant to be set up at Patratu.
GSIPL had submitted its application dated January 10, 2007 to the ministry for its 1000 MW independent power plant in Dumka district in Jharkhand, the CBI said, adding that the allocation letter was issued to the two firms on January 17, 2008.
Rao, a former Congress Rajya Sabha MP, held position of Minister of State for Coal between 2004-06 and between 2006 and 2008.