A special court would next month deliver its order on charge against former MP Vijay Darda and five others, including his son Devendra Darda and former Coal Secretary H C Gupta, in a coal scam case relating to alleged irregularities in allocation of a coal block in Chhattisgarh.
The court today reserved for October 24 after CBI and the accused concluded their arguments on framing of charges.
The court had on August 20 last year granted bail to the accused, who also included two senior public servants K S Kropha and K C Samria, and businessman Manoj Kumar Jayaswal, who had appeared before the court in pursuance to summons.
The court had issued summons against them for alleged offences under section 120B (criminal conspiracy) read with 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant) and 420 (cheating) of IPC and under relevant provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.
It had on November 20 last year had refused to accept CBI’s closure report in the case and had directed it to conduct further probe the matter, stating that the Rajya Sabha MP had “misrepresented” facts in letters written to then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was holding the Coal portfolio.
The court had said that Darda, the Chairman of Lokmat Group, had done so to get the Fatehpur (East) coal block in Chhattisgarh allotted to JLD Yavatmal Energy Pvt Ltd.
Declining to accept CBI’s closure report filed in the case in which it had lodged an FIR against Darda, who was also a Director of JLD firm, and others, the court had said that “prima facie” offence of cheating was committed by private parties in “furtherance of conspiracy” hatched between them and the public servants.
Darda too had specifically claimed in his letters dated June 18, 2007 and August 6, 2007 addressed to the then Prime Minister that M/s JLD was promoted, managed and controlled by Lokmat Group and IDFC, the court said.
The court said government servants had dominion over the nationalised natural resources of the country and prima facie they had acted not only against the public interest but also in violation of the trust imposed in them by law.
CBI had earlier alleged in its FIR that JLD Yavatmal had wrongfully concealed previous allocation of four coal blocks to its group companies in 1999-2005, but later filed a closure report saying no undue benefit was given to M/s JLD Yavatmal Energy Ltd by the Ministry of Coal in allocation of coal blocks to it.
( Source – PTI )