A special court in Delhi on Friday ordered framing of an additional charge of abetment of bribery against industrialist and former Congress parliamentarian Naveen Jindal and others in a case pertaining to allocation of the Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in Jharkhand.
Earlier in April 2016, the special court had ordered framing of charges against Naveen Jindal, former MoS for Coal Dasari Narayan Rao (deceased), former coal secretary H C Gupta, former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda and 11 others on charges for various offences, including criminal conspiracy, cheating, criminal breach of trust under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and some sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
However, the charge under section 12 (punishment for abetment of offences defined in section 7 (public servant taking gratification) or 11 (public servant obtaining valuable thing, without consideration from person concerned in proceeding or business transacted by such public servant)) of Prevention of Corruption Act was not framed then.
During Friday’s proceedings, the special court observed that though the charge of bribery is made out against Dasari Narayan Rao, the charge will not be framed against him as he is not alive. Three others– Jindal Steel’s then adviser Anand Goel, Nihar Stocks Ltd Director BSN Suryanarayan and Mumbai’s Essar Power Ltd Executive Vice-Chairman Sushil Kumar Maroo have also been named in the additional chargesheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the case. The three face charges of criminal conspiracy under Section 120B of the IPC.
The charges will formally be framed on August 16, said the Special Judge Bharat Parashar. The court discharged Mumbai-based KE International’s Chief Financial Officer Rajeev Aggarwal and Gurgaon-based Green Infra’s Vice-President Siddharth Madra from the case, citing lack of evidence against them.
While arguing on charge, CBI’s deputy legal adviser V K Sharma had told the court that there were enough evidence against Jindal for trying him under sections 7 and 12 of the Act. The CBI had alleged that Koda had favoured Jindal group firms — Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) and Gagan Sponge Iron Pvt Ltd (GSIPL) — in allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal block. It had later alleged that five accused named in the second charge sheet tried to hamper the investigation and threatened Suresh Singhal, a chartered accountant who was earlier arrayed as an accused but later turned approver.
All the accused have denied the allegations levelled against them and said there was no evidence to show that there was any conspiracy during the coal block allocation process. The CBI has filed another charge sheet against Jindal and others, including Goel and Maroo, for allegedly cheating the government by misrepresenting facts to get the Madhya Pradesh based Urtan North coal block.
The CBI had in January 2018 told the special court that the charge of bribery be also framed against Naveen Jindal and other accused in the coal scam case.
(With PTI inputs)