Congress leader and industrialist Naveen Jindal, former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda and 13 others were on Wednesday summoned as accused by a trial court in connection with the Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block allocation scam case.
Special Judge Bharat Parashar issued the summons to the 15 accused after taking cognizance of CBI chargesheet and asked them to appear on May 22 .
On April 29, CBI had filed its chargesheet in the case that pertains to alleged irregularities in allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in Jharkhand’s Birbhum in 2008.
The chargesheet, which named 15 accused, included 10 individuals and five firms — Jindal Steel and Power Limited, Jindal Realty Private Limited, Gagan Sponge Iron Private Limited (also a Jindal firm), New Delhi Exim Private Limited (again a Jindal firm), Sowbhagya Media Limited.
Apart from Jindal and Koda, the 10 accused individuals include ex-minister of state for coal Dasari Narayan Rao, former coal secretary HC Gupta and six private people who are — Gyan Swaroop Garg, Suresh Singhal, Rajeev Jain, Girish Kumar Juneja, RK Saraf and K Ramakrishna Prasad.
The accused were charged for alleged offences punishable under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with 420 (cheating) under the IPC and under section13(2) and 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act. If convicted for these offences, the accused can get a maximum punishment of seven years imprisonment.
According to sources, the chargesheet alleges that the Naveen Jindal Group “misrepresented” facts and was shown favour by the Jharkhand government which dropped other firms from its recommendation for allocation of coal blocks.
Gupta, then coal secretary, also chairman of the 35th Screening Committee which cleared the firms for the coal block in Jharkhand, has been accused of showing undue favours to Jindal firms.
The agency alleged that Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) and Gagan Sponge Iron Private Limited (GSIPL) had bagged Jharkhand’s Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in 2008 by alleged misrepresentation of facts to coal ministry when Rao was the minister of state for coal.
According to CBI, misrepresentation was allegedly done on three counts — land, water supply and previous allocations.
Rao was paid kickbacks for favouring coal block allocation to the Jindal firm, according to CBI.
As per CBI, JSPL allegedly claimed in an application submitted in January 2007 that they had only three coal blocks with them when actually they had at least six blocks. Within a year, a block was allocated to JSPL in January 2008, CBI had said.
CBI has also alleged that shares of Rao’s firm Soubhagya Media listed at Rs 28 that time were purchased by one of Jindal’s firm New Delhi Exim Limited at Rs 100 per share with total investment of nearly Rs 2.25 crore which is alleged to be the bribe amount Rao received from Jindal’s company.
Rao, a former Congress Rajya Sabha MP, held position of minister of state for coal between 2004-06 and between 2006 and 2008.