The CBI on Thursday said it would carry out further probe in a coal block allocation scam case in which ex-Minister of State for Coal Santosh Bagrodia, former Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Darda and others are facing allegations of cheating and criminal conspiracy. The submissions by the agency before a special court came on an application filed by one of the accused who had sought further investigation in the case claiming that CBI had conducted “incomplete probe on various vital points”.
Taking note of the CBI’s contention, special Judge Bharat Parashar posted the matter for consideration on Friday.
The court had earlier granted bail to Bagrodia, Vijay Darda, his son Devendra Darda, ex-Coal Secretary H C Gupta, retired public servant L S Janoti and Director of AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd, Manoj Kumar Jayaswal, in the case which is currently at the stage of arguments on framing of charges. Besides them, the firm is also accused in the case.
The application moved by advocate Vijay Aggarwal on behalf of the accused firm on October 3 had sought the court’s direction to the Investigating Officer (IO) for further probe in the matter.
Senior public prosecutor A P Singh, appearing for CBI, said though he did not agree with the grounds on which further investigation was sought by firm, “but keeping in view the overall facts and circumstances, CBI may be permitted to carry out further investigation.”
Singh said that investigation was the sole prerogative of the probe agency, but “in the interest of justice, CBI may be permitted to carry out further probe.”
In the application, Aggarwal claimed that “there has been incomplete investigation on various vital points by the IO and the probe agency has submitted an incomplete charge sheet before the court without making proper and complete probe”.
“Various allegations levelled by CBI are premised primarily on allegations which are based on incomplete and inchoate information, which are made by concealing relevant facts and hence it is imperative that further investigation be directed in the present matter,” the plea said.
The case pertains to alleged irregularities in allocation of Bander coal block in Maharashtra to accused firm AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd.
The court had summoned the accused after taking cognisance of the alleged offences punishable under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with 420 (cheating), 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant) under IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act.
In its January 30, 2015 order, the court had observed that Bagrodia, Gupta and Janoti had allegedly committed criminal misconduct and facilitated AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd in unlawfully obtaining the coal block.
The charge sheet was filed against the accused for alleged offences punishable under IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act.
Regarding AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd, CBI had claimed in its FIR that the firm, in its application form for allocation of coal block, had “fraudulently” concealed the fact that its group firms had previously been allocated five coal blocks.