New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday named Congress MP Vijay Darda in one of the FIRs filed in the alleged coal scam. The investigating agency carried out raids at 30 locations across the country and filed cases against five companies for alleged criminal conspiracy to get coal blocks by fudging their net worth figures and misrepresentation of facts. Darda's brother Rajendra, who is a Cabinet minister in the Maharashtra government, has also been named in one of the FIRs, CBI sources said.
Five companies - JLD Yavatmal Energy Limited, in which Darda was one of the Directors, JAS Infrastructure Capital Private Limited, AMR Iron and Steel, Navbharat Power Private Limited and Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Limited - with their 20 directors and unknown government officials have been named in the FIRs, the CBI sources said.
The raids were conducted in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Patna, Hyderabad, Dhanbad and Nagpur and premises of owners of some companies were also searched.
In its FIR on JLD Yavatmal Energy Limited, which bagged Fatehpur East Coal Block in Chhattisgarh, the CBI has named Vijay Darda along with his son Devendra and other former and present directors including Rajendra Darda, Manoj Jayaswal, Anand Jayaswal and Abhishek Jayaswal.
The CBI has also booked Devendra Darda in another case which relates to alleged irregularities on the part of AMR Iron and Steel, which got Bander Coal Block in Maharashtra.
Attempts to contact Vijay Darda to seek his reaction failed. His staff said he was out of station. However, on television channels, he refuted the allegations against him and said that neither he was involved in any scam nor had he any partnership with Union Coal Minister Shri Prakash Jaiswal or Subodh Kant Sahai. If any BJP leader proves that he has been allotted nine coal blocks and that he has got benefit of Rs 25,000 crore in nexus with Jaiswal, he was ready to relinquish politics. Or
else the person making allegations should quit politics, Vijay Darda has claimed.
The CBI in its investigation has found that three companies - JLD Yavatmal Energy Limited, AMR Iron and Steel JAS Infrastructure Capital Private Limited - have alegedly given wrong information in their applications claiming they were not in possession of any coal blocks.
Meanwhile, BJP secretary Kirit Somaiya demanded resignation of Maharashtra Education Minister Rajendra Darda, saying it was necessary to ensure a fair CBI
probe in coal blocks allocation scam, after the agency registered FIR against a company linked to his family. "Darda should resign. This is essential to ensure an
impartial probe by CBI into the coal blocks allocation issue," Somaiya told reporters.
Referring to the raids conducted by the CBI on firms allegedly linked to Vijay Darda, Somaiya said, "Vijay Darda says that in 2009, he ended his association with the firm because it dropped its plans to set up a power plant in Yavatmal, then why didn't he surrender the coal blocks to the government."
Somaiya also expressed apprehension that the Congress leadership may be making Dardas the scapegoats to save Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. "The firms to which Dardas and Jayaswals are linked are eight of the total 142 allocations and BJP's main focus is on all the 142," he said.
Rajendra Darda, however, told reporters that there was no question of his resignation as he had not flouted any norms. "Why should I resign? Somaiya is not my boss," the minister said. "If the allegations against me are proved, I will quit and won't wait for anyone to seek my resignation," Rajendra Darda said.
The minister said he got the shares in the company said to be linked to his family in 2006 and divested them in 2008. "The whole thing (coal blocks allocation happened much later, so I am in no way involved," Rajendra Darda said.