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CBI asks how an accused in coal scam case got a passport

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An accused in a coal scam case was today caught in a tricky situation in a special court when CBI objected to his plea seeking nod to travel abroad, asking how he had got a passport issued without intimating the authorities about the criminal case pending against him.

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As soon as application of accused Gyan Swaroop Garg, chargesheeted by CBI along with former MP Naveen Jindal and 13 others, came up for hearing, senior public prosecutor V K Sharma said he should first explain how the passport was issued to him after he was summoned as accused.

Sharma told Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar that for renewal or issuance of fresh passport, a declaration was required to be furnished on whether any criminal case was pending against the applicant.

“As trial is pending against the accused (Garg), how was the passport obtained by him without the court’s permission.

This is a serious issue. He is facing trial and has obtained a passport without giving the affidavit,” Sharma said.

When the court asked Garg about it, he said the passport was issued to him from Kolkata. He, however, said he had given the documents for the passport to a travel agent but not signed any such affidavit.

His advocate told the court that the passport issued to his client was not forged.

At this juncture, the judge said, “I will allow your plea to go abroad on a condition that you file an affidavit in the court that you have not obtained the passport by making any false averments.”

“This would be a tricky situation for you. Obtaining passport by concealing facts is an offence under the Passports Act,” the judge said, adding, “You furnish an affidavit in the court and if it is later found that there is wrong information in that then you may be held liable.”

Garg’s counsel then told the court that he was withdrawing the application.

“The application is dismissed as withdrawn,” the court noted in its order.

Garg, a chartered accountant by profession, had moved the court seeking permission to go to Spain from October 10 to 18 to attend an exhibition there.

Garg, along with Jindal, ex-Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda, former Minister of State for Coal Dasari Narayan Rao, ex-Coal Secretary H C Gupta and 10 others were chargesheeted by CBI. The accused are presently out on bail.

The case pertains to alleged irregularities in the allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in Jharkhand to two Jindal group companies, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) and Gagan Sponge Iron Private Ltd (GSIPL). Source – PTI

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