The Rajasthan anti-corruption bureau has filed an FIR against suspended IAS officer Ashok Singhvi and the Vedanta group-owned Hindustan Zinc Ltd for entering into a “criminal conspiracy” and causing the exchequer a loss of over Rs 600 crore.
The Sunday Express had reported that in 2011, a preliminary enquiry by the ACB had recommended an FIR for criminal conspiracy against Singhvi, two other officials of the mining department, and Hindustan Zinc Ltd for letting the company walk away with 3.87 million tonnes of rock phosphate ore between 2006 and 2008.
The ACB said Singhvi, as Principal Secretary (Mines), had allegedly misused office to first revoke a rock phosphate mining lease granted to HZL, and restoring it later by withdrawing the order. Despite the ACB recommendation, no action was taken in the matter.
On Monday, Additional Director General Navdeep Singh told The Indian Express: “We sought fresh legal opinion on the matter and a FIR has now been registered against Singhvi, two other mining department officials and Hindustan Zinc Ltd. Now we will begin investigations and if the charges are found true, we will move for a challan.”
The ACB’s original 2011 report claimed Singhvi’s withdrawal of the government order had unduly benefited HZL, causing a loss of over Rs 600 crore to the Rajasthan government.
Singhvi was arrested recently, along with seven others, by the ACB in a separate Rs 2.55 crore bribery case, and is currently in judicial custody.
BJP state president Ashok Parnami had shifted the blame on former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, accusing him of not acting against Singhvi when the report came out.
But Gehlot hit back saying the scam had unfolded under the Vasundhara Raje-led BJP government. He alleged it was a result of collusion between Singhvi, Raje and former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi.