The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday searched personal lockers of Congress MP and Director of Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) Naveen Jindal at his residence, in connection with a coal block allocations case registered against him and former Minister of State for Coal, Dasari Narayana Rao. Both have been accused of entering into a conspiracy to allocate a Jharkhand coal block to Mr. Jindal’s companies on false representations.
Since Mr. Jindal was on a trip abroad earlier, the CBI had sealed the lockers. “He returned on Thursday, following which the investigators visited his Delhi residence and searched his personal lockers,” said a CBI official.
The case relates to alleged irregularities in the joint allocation of the Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block, at Birbhum in Jharkhand, to JSPL and Gagan Sponge Iron Private Limited. Mr. Jindal owns shares in the sponge company. The two companies had applied for coal blocks in January 2007 and a year later they were allocated the coal block.
CBI investigations have revealed that Mr. Rao, the then Minister of State for Coal, was allegedly paid a bribe of Rs. 2.25 crore through purchase of shares in his company Saubhagya Media.
The agency on Thursday questioned former Coal Secretary H.C. Gupta, who had chaired 35 screening committees for coal block allocations. “He had also played some role in another screening committee,” said the official. The government had earlier refused to grant permission to the CBI to question Mr. Gupta. However, following the agency’s insistence that it had sound reasons warranting his examination, the approval was granted.