CBI searches official and residential premises of accused

Two fresh cases have been registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation against Nagpur-based Grace Industries Limited and Kolkata-based Vikash Metal & Power Limited, their directors and unknown public servants for alleged misrepresentation of facts to secure allocation of coal blocks. While the probe into the allocations between 2006 and 2009 is under way, the agency had earlier booked five private companies and their directors on similar charges.

The first case was registered against Grace Industries Limited and its directors Mukesh Gupta and Seema Gupta along with unknown public servants for allegedly furnishing a highly inflated net worth and giving false information about their production capacity to meet eligibility criteria for coal block allocation. The company was allocated the Lohara East coal block in Maharashtra in 2008.

During investigations, the agency found that the company was only worth about Rs.3 crore, but it had claimed to have a net worth of Rs.120 crore in its application. The agency also suspects that Grace Industries, which had sought coal block for a sponge-iron plant, had also shown an inflated production capacity. After the allocation, the promoters allegedly sold their stakes to another company and made a profit of Rs.20 crore. The agency is now trying to ascertain if some officials in the Steel and Coal Ministries had played a role in facilitating the coal block allocation to Grace Industries.

Similarly, a case was registered against Vikash Metal & Power Limited (Kolkata), their directors — Vimal Patni, Vikash Patni, Anand Patni, Virender Kumar Jain, Kailash Chander Jain and Vijay Kumar Jain — besides one Anand Mallick and other unknown persons. The company was allocated the Moira Madhujore (North and South) coal block in West Bengal in 2009. During the presentation before the Screening Committee, the company allegedly claimed that it owned 300 acres of land at Begusarai in Bihar for setting up of a power plant. However, investigations revealed that the land allotment had been cancelled about a year ago.

Following registration of the cases, the CBI on Saturday conducted searches at the official and residential premises of the accused persons in neighbouring Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh; Nagpur and Chandrapur in Maharashtra; and Kolkata, Asansol and Purulia in West Bengal.

The CBI earlier registered cases against JLD Yavatmal Energy Limited, AMR Iron & Steel Private Limited, JAS Infrastructure Capital Private Limited, Navbharat Power Private Limited and Vini Iron & Steel Udyog Limited, which were allocated coal blocks between 2006 and 2009.

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