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Jharkhand Ispat directors convicted in coal scam case

In the first judgment in the coal blocks allocation scam cases, a special court here on Monday convicted Jharkhand Ispat Private Limited (JIPL) and its two directors R.S. Rungta and R.C. Rungta of cheating the government for getting a coal block in Jharkhand for the firm.

Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar held JIPL and the two directors guilty of defrauding the government for allocation of the North Dhadu coal block through false representation.

In its 132-page judgment, the court said the accused had deceived the Screening Committee of the Ministry of Coal and thereby the Government of India. “The false representation continued to hold ground even when the file containing the recommendation of the Screening Committee went to the Minister-in-charge for final approval.”

The two directors, who were earlier granted bail, were present in the courtroom in the Patiala House District Courts Complex, when the Judge pronounced the order. The court directed that the convicts be taken into custody and fixed March 31 for hearing arguments on quantum of sentence.

Nineteen coal scam cases investigated by the CBI are pending before the court. The court is also hearing two other cases probed by the Enforcement Directorate.

The prosecution had succeeded in proving its case against the accused under Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code, the court said.

Referring to conspiracy among the convicts, the court said they had consciously made false representation at different stages of processing of their application for allotment of a coal block before the Ministries of Steel and Coal.

The mens rea (criminal intent) on the part of the accused in making false representations right from the stage of submitting their application to the Ministry of Steel to the issue of allocation letter was clear, said the court, adding that there was no failure of justice in the evidence led by the CBI and the cross-examination of witnesses.

As the scam had created a political storm during UPA-II, the accused had sought to summon the former Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, and the former Minister of State for Coal, Dasari Narayan Rao, as defence witnesses. However, the court rejected the plea.

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Printable version | Apr 18, 2021 3:34:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Jharkhand-Ispat-directors-convicted-in-coal-scam-case/article14179894.ece

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