Today's Paper

Special court’s poser to CBI

The hearing in the case relating to the allocation of the Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in Jharkhand began at a special court here on Thursday, with the CBI asked why it had not impounded the passports of industrialist Naveen Jindal and former officials and politicians in keeping with the rule.

The former Coal Minister, Dasari Narayan Rao, the former Jharkhand Chief Minister, Madhu Koda, and 12 others were charge-sheeted on Wednesday. However, Special Judge Bharat Parashar asked why the CBI had impounded the passports of just two individuals.

The CBI replied that Mr. Jindal had sent a colour copy of his passport with a request not to impound his original, and his request was accepted. But the court said uniform policies must be applied to all the accused. “It is clear that while a uniform policy which appears to have been adopted by the CBI is that the passports of all accused are seized whenever a case is registered; but in the present case a different policy was adopted for the reasons best known to them,” the judge said, before scheduling the next hearing for May 6.

The former Coal Secretary H.C. Gupta and five firms, including Jindal Steel and Power and Jindal Realty Private Limited, have also been named as an accused. The companies have been charged with cheating and conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code, and the former Minister and Mr. Gupta with abuse of position for advantage under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The CBI has alleged that the Jindal firms had acquired the Amarkonda Murgadangal block by misrepresenting facts about the previous allocations and land and water supply when Mr. Rao was Minister of State for Coal.

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