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Jindal, others to be formally charged in coal block case

By Ians English

New Delhi, April 29: A court here on Friday ordered the framing of charges against former parliamentarian, industrialist and senior Congress leader Naveen Jindal, former union minister of state for coal Dasari Narayan Rao, former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda and others in a coal block case allegedly involving the Jindal Group.

Judge Bharat Parashar of the Special CBI court ordered charges be framed relating to criminal conspiracy, cheating and various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act against Jindal, Rao and Koda and others in a case related to the allocation of Jharkhand's Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block to Jindal Steel and Gagan Sponge.

Coal scam: Jindal to be formally charged

"...I may also mention that a bare perusal of the facts and circumstances of the case clearly suggests that though various accused persons acted at different times but they all were in tandem to favour A-1, M/s Jindal Steel & Power Ltd. (M/s JSPL) and A-2, M/s Gagan Sponge Iron Pvt. Ltd. (M/s GSIPL) in somehow procuring sole allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal Coal Block in their favour," the court said.

"Charge for the offence under Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy)/409 (criminal breach of trust)/420 (cheating) IPC and section 13 (1) (c) (criminal misconduct dishonestly misappropriates of any property) and 13 (1) (d) (criminal misconduct for obtaining pecuniary advantage) Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, shall also be framed against all the accused persons."

The Central Bureau of Investigation court observed that it is clear that the present case involves "a number of triable issues which raise grave and strong suspicion about the role played by various accused persons".

The court posted the matter for consideration of framing of charges on May 11.

At the same time, the court allowed personal exemption from personal appearance to Jindal on May 11 while allowing his plea to travel to Austria and other Schengen countries alongwith the United Kingdom from May 6 to May 13 on account of marriage of his nephew and other reasons.

Meanwhile, a statement of New Delhi Exim director Suresh Singhal, who has sought pardon and permission to become an approver in the case, was submitted before the court.

The CBI has said there was sufficient evidence to frame charges against the accused in the case.

However, Jindal, Rao, Koda and others have denied the allegations and sought being discharged from the case.

The CBI in April last year filed a charge sheet against Jindal, Koda, Rao, former coal secretary H.C. Gupta with six other individuals.

The six others aree New Delhi Exim director Suresh Singhal, Jindal Realty director Rajeev Jain, Gagan Sponge directors Girish Kumar Juneja and R.K. Saraf, Sowbhagya Media's managing director K. Ramakrishna and chartered accountant Gyan Swaroop Garg.

Five private companies -- four based in Delhi and one in Hyderabad -- were named in the charge sheet.

The companies are Jindal Steel and Power Ltd., Gagan Sponge Iron Pvt. Ltd., Jindal Reality Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi Exim Pvt. Ltd. and Sowbhagya Media Ltd.

Jindal, in a statement on Friday, said that it is "confident that it will stand vindicated".

It denied all allegations against the company and management. "We have full faith in the Indian judicial system and are confident to come out clean during the process."

It said the "allocation was made to the company purely on merit and all along the course of the investigation the company and its officials have fully co-operated with the authorities, and whenever asked, explained and provided all the supporting documents. "


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