Former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda, ex-Coal Secretary H C Gupta and seven other accused will be put on trial for alleged offences of criminal conspiracy and corruption in a coal block allocation case. While ordering the action, the special court on Tuesday observed that the accused acted in a “blatant and brazen manner” in the allotment of Rajhara North coal block.
Special Judge Bharat Parashar stated that “overall facts and circumstances of the case” gave rise to “grave suspicion against all the accused persons warranting framing of charges”.
The court held that offence of Section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC was prima facie made out against all nine accused.
The other accused against whom charges were ordered to be framed were former Jharkhand Chief Secretary Ashok Kumar Basu, two public servants — Basant Kumar Bhattacharya and Bipin Bihari Singh — Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd (VISUL), its director Vaibhav Tulsyan, Koda’s alleged close aide Vijay Joshi and chartered accountant Navin Kumar Tulsyan.
The court ordered that charges under relevant provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act were made out against five public servants — Koda, Gupta, Basu, Singh and Bhattacharya.
The court further added that Gupta also prima facie committed offence under Section 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant) of the IPC — while Vaibhav Tulsyan, Joshi and VISUL prima facie committed offence of cheating under Section 420 of the IPC.
On the alleged role of Koda, the special court said that “though accused Madhu Koda has sought to distance himself from the acts of other officers by stating that he merely endorsed various notings made by his officers but the over all facts and circumstances of the case clearly suggests to the contrary”.
“The record shows that accused Madhu Koda did apply his mind to the initial recommendation made by the Committee of three Secretaries and even suggested that Macharkunda coal block recommendation of Bihar Sponge Iron Ltd. be also sent. Thus he cannot claim now that the initial recommendation was made by him without any of mind,” the judge said.
On the role of former coal secretary Gupta, the court said that he prima facie “acted in violation of the trust imposed in him by law and facilitated allocation of impugned coal block in favour of VISUL. It further said that the role played by Secretary (Coal) cannot be “strictly bracketed merely as that of an advisor” to the minister-in-charge and that he is equally responsible for the administrative functioning of the ministry.”