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coal scamA special court today fixed July 14 for pronouncing the order on framing of charges against former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda and seven others in a coal block allocation scam case.

“Put up for order on charge for July 14,” Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar said.

The case pertains to alleged irregularities in allocation of Rajhara North coal block in Jharkhand to Kolkata-based Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd (VISUL).

Besides Koda, the other accused in the case include ex- Coal Secretary H C Gupta, ex-Jharkhand Chief Secretary A K Basu, VISUL, two public servants — Basant Kumar Bhattacharya and Bipin Bihari Singh, VISUL’s Director Vaibhav Tulsyan, Koda’s alleged close aide Vijay Joshi and chartered accountant Navin Kumar Tulsyan.

These eight accused were earlier granted bail by the court after they had appeared before it in pursuance to the summons issued against them.

They were summoned as accused after the court took cognisance of alleged offences under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with 420 (cheating) and 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servants) of IPC and under provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.

CBI, in its charge sheet, had said that VISUL had applied for allocation of Rajhara North coal block on January 8, 2007.

The agency had alleged that although the Jharkhand government and Steel Ministry did not recommend VISUL’s case for coal block allocation, the 36th Screening Committee recommended the block to the accused firm.

On May 29, CBI had told special court that Gupta had allegedly concealed facts from then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that Jharkhand had not recommended VISUL for allocation of a coal block.

CBI had said that Gupta, who was chairman of screening committee, was aware that the state government had not recommended the coal block to VISUL but did not mention this in the file noting sent to the PM, who then headed the Coal Ministry too.

The agency had alleged that Koda, Basu and two accused public servants conspired to somehow favour VISUL in the coal block allocation despite the fact that state government had initially recommended two other firms for it.

Earlier, Gupta had dragged the former PM’s name in coal scam, saying he took the “ultimate decision” as the then Coal Minister in allocation of coal blocks.

He had said Manmohan Singh had the “final authority” to take decisions and Gupta was empowered to only recommend allocation of blocks.

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