New Delhi: Congress leader and industrialist Naveen Jindal, ex-Minister of State for Coal Dasari Narayan Rao, former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda and 12 others are likely to appear on Friday as accused before a special court in connection with a coal blocks allocation scam case.
Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar has also summoned former Coal Secretary Harish Chandra Gupta and some others, including five companies, as accused in a case of alleged irregularities in the allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in Jharkhand.
The court has asked them to appear after taking cognisance of the CBI charge sheet filed against them. In its charge sheet, CBI has alleged that Jindal had promised Congress support to the then "unstable" Madhu Koda government in Jharkhand in return for a recommendation for allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block to his group firms.
Koda, then an independent MLA, was chief minister of Jharkhand from September 14, 2006 to August 23, 2008 with the support of Congress, RJD and others. While summoning the accused, the court had observed that Jindal had prima facie "manipulated" the entire government machinery to procure undue coal block allotment in Jharkhand.
The judge had earlier observed that the charge sheet filed by the CBI prima facie showed that Jindal had played a "pivotal role" in the conspiracy to procure allotment of the coal block in favour of his two group firms, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) and Gagan Sponge Iron Pvt Ltd (GSIPL).
The court had said that prima facie offences under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with sections 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant), 420 (cheating) of the IPC read with section 13(1)(c) and 13(1)(d) (criminal misconduct by a public servant) of the Prevention of Corruption Act were made out against all the 15 accused.
After the court had summoned the accused, JSPL in a statement had said: "We deny all allegations made against our company and its management. We will be availing of appropriate remedy in accordance with law. We have full faith in our judiciary and are confident to come out clean during the process."
The five firms which have been summoned as accused by the court are JSPL, Jindal Realty Pvt Ltd, Gagan Infraenergy Ltd (formerly known as GSIPL), Sowbhagya Media Ltd and New Delhi Exim Pvt Ltd. Besides Jindal, Rao, Koda and then Coal Secretary Gupta, the other individuals summoned as accused are Suresh Singhal, Director of New Delhi Exim Pvt Ltd, Rajeev Jain, Director of Jindal Realty Pvt Ltd, Girish Kumar Suneja and Radha Krishna Saraf, both Directors of GSIPL, K Ramakrishna Prasad, Managing Director of Sowbhagya Media Ltd and chartered accountant Gyan Swaroop Garg.
The court had said that substantive offence of cheating was prima facie made out against Jindal, Saraf, Suneja, JSPL and Gagan Infraenergy Ltd. It had said substantive offences under section 409 of IPC and section 13(1)(c)/13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) were also prima facie made out against Rao and Gupta while substantive offence under section 13(1)(d) of PCA was prima facie made out against Koda.
Section 409 of IPC entails life imprisonment as maximum punishment. The court had said that according to CBI's charge sheet, Koda had conspired with Jindal and abused his official position to extend "undue benefits" to JSPL and GSIPL. It was found during the probe that GSIPL had allegedly misrepresented facts about its net worth in the feedback form submitted before the screening committee, the court had said.
It had also observed that from the circumstances, it prima facie appeared that GSIPL had acted as a "front company" for JSPL to procure allotment of entire Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block.