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Coal scam: court orders framing of charges against Naveen Jindal, 14 others

File Photo of Naveen Jindal  

A Special court for CBI cases here on Friday ordered framing of charges against former Union Minister Dasari Narayana Rao, former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda, industrialist Naveen Jindal and 12 others in the allotment of the Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block to two companies of the Jindal group.

Framing the charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating and criminal breach of trust by a public servant under the IPC and various provision of the Prevention of Corruption Act, Special Judge Bharat Parashar said prima facie there was enough material on record to proceed against all the accused. The court also framed charges against former Coal Secretary H.C. Gupta.

However, the court will formally frame the charges at a later date in case the accused plead not guilty to the allegations. The trial will begin only after that.

Arguing for framing of the charges, the prosecution submitted that it was on account of a criminal conspiracy hatched by various accused persons that the entire Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block was allotted in favour of Naveen Jindal Group of companies — Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) and Gagan Sponge Iron Private Limited (GSIPL).

Fifty per cent of the entire coal block was allocated to JSPL and the other half to GSIPL. The prosecution submitted that as per the claim of GSIPL, its core business was investment activity, and, thus there was no reason for the Ministry of Coal to recommend allotment of a coal block in its favour while ignoring the claim of other deserving companies.

Naveen Jindal was a promoter and controlling authority in both companies, thus the sole beneficiary of the allotment of captive coal block in favour of the two companies, the CBI alleged.

The Ministry of Power, which was the concerned administrative Ministry, did not find the two companies to be eligible for allotment of a captive coal block, still the Screening Committee of the Ministry of Coal, headed by accused H C Gupta, chose to recommend the two companies for allotment of the Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block, the CBI further submitted.

Meanwhile, the JSPL in a statement said that "it will stand vindicated at the end of the on-going judicial process."

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Printable version | Apr 21, 2021 1:57:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Coal-scam-court-orders-framing-of-charges-against-Naveen-Jindal-14-others/article14264519.ece

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