Ranchi, March 28: In a landmark verdict by a special court, Jharkhand Ispat Pvt Ltd (JIPL) and its two directors R S Rungta and R C Rungta have been convicted of irregularities in allotment of a coal block in the state to the firm.
This is the first coal block allocation scam case in which the special court, which was established to exclusively deal with all coal scam matters, has delivered its judgement.
The Rungta brothers- RS Rungta and RC Rungta-have been convicted of cheating and criminal conspiracy for illegally acquiring the North Dhadu coal block. Though the court convicted the trio in the case, it also acquitted them of forgery charges. The Rungtas, who were on bail, were taken into custody again after the court held them guilty in the case. The court will now decide the quantum of sentence for the convicts on March 31.
CBI alleges that the accused had acquired the coal block allegedly on the basis of false and forged documents. OnMarch 21 last year, the trio were charged for the alleged offences that are punishable under 467 (forgery of valuable security), sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with 420 (cheating), 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating) and 471 (using a forged document as genuine) of IPC.
Pleading not guilty, the accused also demanded a trial and wanted former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and ex-Minister of State for Coal Dasari Narayan Rao as defence witnesses in the case. However, the court dismissed the plea.
The chargesheet issued by the CBI alleged that during the probe, it was found that JIPL had "grossly misrepresented" a number of aspects to inflate their claims and misguided the MoS (Ministry of Steel) and Ministry of Coal (MoC).
Dragging the ministries, CBI said that companies like M/s Electro Steel Casting Ltd, M/s Adhunik Alloys and Power Ltd and M/s Pawanjay Steel and Power Ltd, were jointly allotted the coal block. The CBI also blamed the screening committee and the Ministry of Steel for not taking necessary measures to the verify the claims made by Rungta brothers.