Delhi HC stays Rs 50L fine on Kolkata company in coal scam case

Delhi HC stays Rs 50L fine on Kolkata company in coal scam case
Delhi HC stays Rs 50L fine on Kolkata company in coal scam case

The Delhi High Court today stayed a trial court order imposing a fine of Rs 50 lakh on a Kolkata-based iron and steel company in connection with a coal scam case.

Justice Anu Malhotra put on the hold till January 22, the next date of hearing, the special CBI court’s order to deposit the fine.

The high court’s interim order came on the appeal of the company, Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd’s (VISUL), which has sought waiver of the costs.

The high court also sought response of the CBI on the company’s plea seeking setting aside of the trial court’s December 16 order convicting it in the coal scam case.

“The trial court order is stayed on parity with the other convict’s appeal,” the court said.

The company, in its plea, has said that the special court had wrongly found them guilty of the alleged scam.

The high court on December 20 had sought response of the CBI on an appeal by former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda’s close aide Vijay Joshi against the trial court’s order awarding him three years jail term in the case.

While admitting his appeal against conviction and jail term, the court had suspended the sentence of Joshi till the pendency of his appeal and had granted him bail on furnishing a personal bond of Rs one lakh and a surety of the like amount.

Koda, ex-coal secretary H C Gupta, A K Basu, former Jharkhand chief secretary, and Joshi were awarded jail terms of three years for indulging in corrupt practices and hatching a criminal conspiracy in the allocation of Rajhara North coal block in Jharkhand to the Kolkata-based company.

While confirming his bail, the high court had directed Joshi not to leave the country during the entire pendency of his appeal.

It had also stayed till January 22, the next date of hearing, the payment of the Rs 25 lakh fine imposed on Joshi by the special court.

The trial court had directed the convict to deposit by January 3 the fine amount and had suspended his sentence till February 18 to enable him to appeal before the superior court.

Advocate Tarannum Cheema, appearing for the CBI, gave a list of orders in the coal cases where the convicts were directed to deposit the fine and said the time to deposit the money was not extended.

While sentencing the convicts, the special court had said “white collar crimes” were more “dangerous” to the society than ordinary crimes.

It had imposed fines of Rs 50 lakh, Rs 25 lakh and Rs 1 lakh on VISUL, Koda and Gupta respectively in the UPA-era coal scam. Rs one lakh fine was also imposed on Basu.

The convicts were granted statutory bail for a period of two months to enable them to file appeals in the Delhi High Court.

So far, four out of 30 coal block allocation scam cases have been decided by the special court, including this order, and 12 people and four companies have been held guilty.

The convicts were tried for offences under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with 420 (cheating) and 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servants) of the IPC and under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

While the offence of cheating carries a maximum punishment of seven years jail term, criminal breach of trust by public servants entails a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.

The CBI had said that the firm had applied for allocation of Rajhara North coal block on January 8, 2007.

It had said that although the Jharkhand government and the steel ministry did not recommend VISUL’s case for coal block allocation, the 36th Screening Committee recommended the block to the accused firm.

The CBI had said that Gupta, who was chairman of the screening committee, had concealed facts from then prime minister Manmohan Singh, who at that time headed the coal ministry too, that Jharkhand had not recommended VISUL for allocation of a coal block.

( Source – PTI )

Former Jharkhand CM Madhu Koda convicted in coal scam case

Former Jharkhand CM Madhu Koda convicted in coal scam case
Former Jharkhand CM Madhu Koda convicted in coal scam case

A special court today held former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda and ex-coal secretary H C Gupta guilty of corruption and other charges in a coal scam case.

Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar held Koda, Gupta and other accused persons, including ex-Jharkhand chief secretary A K Basu and private company Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd (VISUL), guilty of varying offences including criminal conspiracy in the case pertaining to irregularities in allocation of Rajhara North coal block in Jharkhand to the Kolkata-based VISUL.

The court will hear argument on quantum of punishment tomorrow.

It, however, acquitted four persons VISUL’s Director Vaibhav Tulsyan and two public servants Basant Kumar Bhattacharya and Bipin Bihari Singh and chartered accountant Navin Kumar Tulsyan of all charges.

All were earlier 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.

The CBI alleged that the firm had applied for allocation of Rajhara North coal block on January 8, 2007.

It said 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.

The CBI said that Gupta, who was chairman of the screening committee, had allegedly concealed facts from then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who then headed the Coal Ministry too, that Jharkhand had not recommended VISUL for allocation of a coal block.

Koda, Basu and two accused public servants conspired to favour VISUL in the coal block allocation, the agency had alleged.

The accused have refuted the allegations levelled against them.

( Source – PTI )

Court to pronounce verdict on Dec 13 in coal case agst Koda

Court to pronounce verdict on Dec 13 in coal case agst Koda
Court to pronounce verdict on Dec 13 in coal case agst Koda

A special court will pronounce on December 13 its verdict in a coal scam case against former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda, ex-Coal Secretary H C Gupta and others.

Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar has directed all the accused to remain present before court on the date of judgement in the case pertaining to alleged irregularities in allocation of Rajhara North coal block in Jharkhand to Kolkata-based Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd (VISUL).

Besides Koda, Gupta and the firm, the other accused in the case include ex-Jharkhand Chief Secretary A K Basu, 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.

The eight accused persons 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.

During arguments, the CBI alleged that the firm had applied for allocation of Rajhara North coal block on January 8, 2007.

It said 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.

The CBI said that Gupta, who was chairman of the screening committee, had allegedly concealed facts from then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who then headed the Coal Ministry too, that Jharkhand had not recommended VISUL for allocation of a coal block.

Koda, Basu and two accused public servants conspired to favour VISUL in the coal block allocation, the agency added.

The accused have refuted the allegations levelled against them.

( Source – PTI )

Naveen Jindal, others granted bail in coal scam case

Naveen Jindal, others granted bail in coal scam case
Naveen Jindal, others granted bail in coal scam case

Industrialist Naveen Jindal and others were today granted bail by a special court in a case related to the allocation of a coal block in Madhya Pradesh.

Special Judge Bharat Parashar granted the relief to them on a personal bond of Rs one lakh each and one surety of like amount.

The court has now posted the matter for further hearing on October 31.

Besides Jindal, others who got the relief include Jindal Steel and Power Ltd’s (JSPL) former Director Sushil Maroo, former Deputy MD Anand Goyal and CEO Vikrant Gujral.

The accused were summoned for alleged offences of cheating and criminal conspiracy in the allocation of Urtan North coal block in Madhya Pradesh.

In its charge sheet, the CBI has alleged that JSPL misrepresented the equipment purchase orders and misled the Coal Ministry.

Jindal is also facing trial in a case pertaining to the allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in Jharkhand.

( Source – PTI )

‘Convicts’ acts led non-extraction of coal, harmed India’

'Convicts' acts led non-extraction of coal, harmed India'
‘Convicts’ acts led non-extraction of coal, harmed India’

The “unscrupulous acts” of five convicts including former Coal Secretary H C Gupta led to non- extraction of coal from a mine in Madhya Pradesh causing “immense” loss to the country, a special court here has said.

The significant observation has been made by Special Judge Bharat Parashar in his verdict convicting the former top bureaucrat and four others including beneficiary firm Kamal Sponge Steel and Power Ltd (KSSPL) and its Managing Director Pawan Kumar Ahluwalia in allocation of a coal block in MP.

“Non-availability of such an important raw material has in fact caused an immense loss to the country in its journey to achieve higher infrastructural/industrial development.

“Thus it is the country as a whole which has suffered loss on account of such unscrupulous acts of the convict persons,” the judgement said.

The special court rejected the fervent plea of the accused for leniency on the grounds that no loss was caused to anyone as not even a single ounce of coal was extracted from the allocated mine.

The court has also imposed a fine of Rs one crore on the firm while Ahluwalia was awarded three-year jail term.

Rejecting the submissions, the court said “it would be suffice to state that non-extraction of coal in itself has caused huge loss to the country”.

Gupta and two serving senior officials — K S Kropha and K C Samaria — were awarded two-year jail term by the court in the case pertaining to irregularities in the allocation of of the Thesgora-B Rudrapuri coal block in Madhya Pradesh to the firm.

( Source – PTI )

Naveen Jindal, others summoned as accused in coal scam case

Naveen Jindal, others summoned as accused in coal scam case
Naveen Jindal, others summoned as accused in coal scam case

Industrialist Naveen Jindal and others were today summoned by a special court here as accused in a case related to the allocation of a coal block in Madhya Pradesh after it took cognisance of a CBI charge sheet.

Besides Jindal, the others summoned as accused are the company, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL), its former Director Sushil Maroo, former Deputy MD Anand Goyal and CEO Vikrant Gujral for alleged cheating and criminal conspiracy in the allocation of Urtan North coal block in Madhya Pradesh.

All the accused have to appear before Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar on September 4.

In its charge sheet, the CBI has alleged that JSPL misrepresented the equipment purchase orders and misled the Coal Ministry.

Jindal is also facing trial in a case pertaining to the allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in Jharkhand.

( Source – PTI )

Coal scam case: CBI seeks 7 years jail for ex-coal secy

Coal scam case: CBI seeks 7 years jail for ex-coal secy
Coal scam case: CBI seeks 7 years jail for ex-coal secy

The CBI has urged a special court here to award the maximum punishment of seven years jail term to former coal secretary H C Gupta for cheating and criminal conspiracy in allocation of a coal block to a private firm.

Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar, who has held Gupta guilty in the case, will pronounce his judgement on the quantum of sentence on July 22.

Gupta, who was the coal secretary from December 31, 2005 to November 2008, then joint secretary K S Kropha and then director K C Samaria in the coal ministry were held guilty by the court for irregularities in allocation of the Thesgora-B Rudrapuri coal block in Madhya Pradesh to Kamal Sponge Steel and Power Ltd (KSSPL).

Senior public prosecutor V K Sharma told the court that the convicts had committed an economic offence and urged it not to grant any leniency to them.

He submitted that economic offences were graver than the other crimes and should be dealt with firmly.

The convicts, however, sought leniency, citing old age and no previous conviction in any other case.

On May 19, the court had convicted Gupta, Kropha and Samaria. It also held the firm and its managing director Pawan Kumar Ahluwalia guilty of the offences, including cheating.

The court, however, acquitted chartered accountant Amit Goyal in the case.

The CBI had in October 2012 lodged an FIR in the matter, but on March 27, 2014 it filed a closure report.

The court rejected the closure report on October 13, 2014 and summoned Gupta and others as accused.

The CBI had alleged that the firm had misrepresented its net worth and the existing capacity, adding that the state government had also not recommended the firm for the allocation of any coal block.

The court had on October 14 last year framed charges against them, observing that former prime minister Manmohan Singh was kept in the “dark” by Gupta, who had prima facie violated the law and the trust reposed in him on the issue of coal block allocation.

Ten more coal scam cases are pending against Gupta and the proceedings are going on separately. The Supreme Court had last year dismissed his plea seeking a joint trial in all these cases.

( Source – PTI )

Former coal secy H C Gupta convicted in a coal scam case

Former coal secy H C Gupta convicted in a coal scam case
Former coal secy H C Gupta convicted in a coal scam case

A special court here today convicted former coal secretary H C Gupta in a coal scam case.

Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar also convicted the coal ministry’s then joint secretary K S Kropha and then director K C Samaria besides others in the case pertaining to alleged irregularities in allocation of Thesgora-B Rudrapuri coal block in Madhya Pradesh to KSSPL.

The court will pronounce the order on quantum of sentence on May 22.

The court, however, acquitted chartered accountant Amit Goyal in the case.

Besides Gupta, Kropha and Samria, the court also convicted the firm KSSPL and its managing director Pawan Kumar Ahluwalia.

Kropha was the then joint secretary in the Ministry of Coal, while Samria was the then director (coal allocation-I) in the ministry.

During the hearing, the CBI had alleged that the application filed by KSSPL for the coal block was incomplete and was supposed to be rejected by the ministry as it was not in accordance with the guidelines issued.

The CBI had charged that the firm had misrepresented its net worth and existing capacity, adding that state government had also not recommended the firm for the allocation of any coal block.

The accused, however, denied the allegations during the arguments.

The court had in October last year framed charges against the accused observing that former prime minister Manmohan Singh was kept in the “dark” by Gupta, who had prima facie violated the law and the trust reposed in him on the issue of coal block allocation.

Around eight different charge sheets have been filed against Gupta and proceedings are going on individually. The Supreme Court had recently dismissed his plea seeking joint trial in all these cases.

( Source – PTI )

Coal case agst Jindal:Interim bail of 5 fresh accused extended

Coal case agst Jindal:Interim bail of 5 fresh accused extended
Coal case agst Jindal:Interim bail of 5 fresh accused extended

A Delhi court today extended till May 25 the interim bail of five fresh accused named by the CBI in its supplementary charge sheet in a coal scam case against Congress leader and industrialist Naveen Jindal and others.

Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar extended the relief to accused- Jindal Steel’s adviser Anand Goel, Gurgaon-based Green Infra’s Vice-President Siddharth Madra, Nihar Stocks Ltd Director BSN Suryanarayan, Mumbai-based KE International’s Chief Financial Officer Rajeev Aggarwal and Mumbai’s Essar Power Ltd Executive Vice-Chairman Sushil Kumar Maroo – after noting that the CBI has not yet supplied them all documents.

The court also took strong objection to the delay in supply of case-related documents and directed a CBI officer of SP rank to personally look into the matter.

It also directed the SP to remain personally present at every hearing of the case till further orders.

The case pertains to allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in Jharkhand.

Earlier, the CBI had opposed the regular bail plea of two of the five accused persons – Goel and Maroo – alleging that they tried to hamper the investigation and threatened witness Suresh Singhal in the case.

The names of these five persons were revealed by Singhal, a chartered accountant, who was earlier charge sheeted by the CBI as accused in the case.

The court had summoned the five new persons as accused after taking cognisance of the supplementary charge sheet filed by the CBI on March 24.

Besides Jindal, the case also involves former Minister of State for Coal Dasari Narayan Rao and ex-Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda.

The court had earlier asked the agency to expeditiously file its further probe report.

The CBI had alleged that Koda had favoured Jindal group firms — Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) and Gagan Sponge Iron Pvt Ltd (GSIPL) — in allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in Jharkhand.

All the accused had denied the allegations levelled against them and said there was no evidence to show that there was any conspiracy during the coal block allocation process.

( Source – PTI )

Charges framed agnst ex-Minister Dilip Ray in coal scam case

Charges framed agnst ex-Minister Dilip Ray in coal scam case
Charges framed agnst ex-Minister Dilip Ray in coal scam case

Dilip Ray, a union minister in the earlier NDA government, was today put on trial by a special court here in a coal scam case pertaining to alleged irregularities in the allocation of a Jharkhand coal block in 1999.

Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar frames charges of cheating, criminal conspiracy and criminal breach of trust against Ray, two senior officials of the Ministry of Coal (MoC) at that time, Pradip Kumar Banerjee and Nitya Nand Gautam, Castron Technologies Ltd (CTL), its director Mahendra Kumar Agarwalla and Castron Mining Ltd (CML), saying there was enough evidence to start the trial against the accused.

Ray was Minister of State for Coal in the the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. Banerjee was the then Additional Secretary in MoC and Gautam the Advisor (Projects) there.

The charges were framed after the accused pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.

The court fixed July 11 to begin the trial after the CBI submitted that Ray was a sitting MLA in Odisha and as per Supreme Court directions, the trial should be conducted on day-to-day basis.

The case pertains to allocation of Brahmadiha coal block in Giridih in Jharkhand to CTL in 1999.

The accused have been summoned for the alleged offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating and criminal breach of trust under the Indian Penal Code and under relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act.

In its charge sheet, CBI had alleged that the name of former BJP Rajya Sabha member P K Agarwalla was not being recommended for prosecution as he has since expired.

In its charge sheet, CBI had said that CTL had applied in May 1998 to the MoC for allotment of Brahmadiha coal block and it was stated in the application that extracted coal shall be used by the firm for washery and power generation.

When the application came up for consideration, Coal India’s views were sought, which in turn sought a report on the viability of coal block on various aspects from the Central Mine Planning and Design Institute Limited (CMPDIL).

CBI had alleged that on the basis of CMPDIL’s report of August 1998, the CIL conveyed to MoC that as the coal block was an abandoned mine area and was full of water, it could be dangerous to adjoining properties of Central Coal Fields (CCL) where coal mining activities were being undertaken through underground mining method.

The report also said that mining coal from the block would be against safety norms and the mining statutes, the agency said.

CBI alleged that when the report came to Gautam, he wrote to CIL seeking further clarification but CIL reiterated its earlier stand and also highlighted that the block was not in the list of identified captive coal blocks to be allocated.

On the basis of CIL’s comment, Gautam proposed that it would not be possible to allot the coal mine to CTL, it said.

The agency said the file was sent to Ray’s office on April 23, 1999 and on May 12, 1999, CTL submitted a fresh representation to Ray stating that their application may be considered expeditiously.

It claimed that on May 13, 1999 the file came to the then Coal Secretary from Ray’s office with an endorsement that in light of representation received from CTL, the case may be re-examined.

CBI alleged that when the file again reached Gautam’s desk, he made a note in which he “made a complete u-turn from his observations” given in the earlier note.

It alleged that on the basis of Gautam’s note, the file came to Banerjee who approved it, after which the 14th screening committee recommended CTL for allocation of the coal block subject to relaxation of guidelines by MoC.

On the basis of the approval accorded by Ray, a letter of allotment of Brahmadiha coal block in favour of CTL was issued on September 1, 1999 by the MoC.

CBI has alleged in its charge sheet that despite strong objection raised by CIL and CMPDIL regarding allotment of the block, the screening committee and Ray proceeded ahead to allot the block to CTL.

It alleged that after allocation of the block, CTL started extracting coal illegally even without grant of any mine opening permission by the concerned authorities.

It said that as per a family settlement, all the shares of CTL stood transferred in favour of Mahender Kumar Agarwalla and his family members while the block so allocated stood transferred in favour of another firm CML of P K Agarwalla.

CBI also alleged that CML was also involved in illegal extraction of coal from the block without signing of a mining lease or obtaining mine opening permission.

( Source – PTI )