Coal scam: Court to hear Javadekar’s plea on Nov 5

coal-scamA special court today said it would need some time to analyse the objections filed by Union Ministers Prakash Javadekar and Hansraj Ahir against CBI’s move to close a coal scam case, allegedly involving Prakash Industries Ltd (PIL) and others.

Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar fixed the case for hearing on November 5 when it will hear arguments on the protest petition filed by HRD Minister Javadekar and Minister of State for Home Ahir, who were complainants in case.

Central Vigilance Commission had started its proceedings on the complaints made by both the ministers. The two politicians have moved the court seeking rejection of CBI’s closure report filed in the case and a direction to the agency to further investigate matter and file a supplementary charge sheet in the case.

The protest petition alleged that the company, PIL, had deliberately misrepresented facts to the 35th Screening Committee in connivance with other accused to get the coal block and investigation was done on the same lines as claimed by the accused.

The petition of Javadekar and Ahir came in response to the court’s earlier notice asking them if they wanted to submit anything on the final report in the case.

The court had earlier issued notices to the two ministers after CVC Director Sanjay Agarwal had informed it that CVC was not a complainant in the matter and had no role to play in the case. It was these two leaders on whose complaint the Commission had started its proceedings, he had said.

Coalscam:Court frames charges against ex-coal secy, 5 others

coal scamA special court today framed charges against former coal secretary H C Gupta and five others in a coal scam case pertaining to alleged irregularities in allocation of a coal block in Madhya Pradesh to an accused firm.

Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar put the six on trial for alleged offences under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with 420 (cheating), 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant) of IPC and under relevant provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.

Besides Gupta, the court framed charges against two senior public servants, K S Kropha and K C Samria, firm Kamal Sponge Steel and Power Ltd (KSSPL), its managing director Pawan Kumar Ahluwalia and chartered accountant Amit Goyal.

Kropha was the then Joint Secretary in Ministry of Coal, while Samria was the then Director (Coal Allocation-I) section in the ministry. The court has now fixed the matter October 28 for admission/denial of documents by accused, filed in the case by CBI.

The court had on October 1 ordered framing of charges against these 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 imposed on him on the issue of coal block allocation.

The case pertains to alleged irregularities in allocation of Thesgora-B Rudrapuri coal block in Madhya Pradesh to KSSPL. The court on October 13 last year had summoned them as accused after refusing to accept CBI’s closure report. The accused were earlier granted bail by the court.

CBI had lodged an FIR against KSSPL, its officials and other unknown persons for alleged misrepresentation of facts, including inflated net worth, to acquire the coal block.

Coal scam:Special Court summons ex-coal secy as accused

Coal scam:Special Court summons ex-coal secy as accused
Coal scam:Special Court summons ex-coal secy as accused

A special court today summoned former Coal Secretary H C Gupta, Delhi-based firm Pushp Steels and Mining Pvt Ltd and its director Atul Jain as accused for their alleged involvement in a coal block allocation scam case.

Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar took cognizance of the charge sheet filed by CBI in the case pertaining to alleged irregularities in allocation of a coal block to the accused firm in Chhattisgarh.

The court summoned them as accused for August 3.

CBI had filed the charge sheet in the case on May 20 this year for alleged offences under section 120B (criminal conspiracy) read with section 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant) of IPC and under relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Pushp Steels and Mining Pvt Ltd was allotted Brahmapuri coal block in Chhattisgarh on the recommendation by the Screening Committee for its proposed Sponge Iron End Use Project in Durg district.

An FIR was lodged against Pushp Steels and Mining Pvt Ltd and others in April 2013.

The agency had alleged that the firm had misrepresented facts while applying for the coal block.

The agency had conducted searches at various places in Delhi, Ghaziabad and Raipur in Chhattisgarh at the offices and factory of the firm as well as the residential premises of its Directors Atul Jain and Sanjay Jain.

It had alleged that the company got mining lease on the basis of recommendation from the Chhattisgarh government despite having no experience and lacking enough capital required for starting mining operations.

CBI had earlier claimed that the allocation of Brahmapuri coal block was done on the basis of alleged false information that the firm possessed an iron ore mining lease, when it had none.

“It was further alleged that the company did not have any experience in steel manufacturing and the net worth of the group companies/firms was around Rs 3.01 crores which was insignificant,” it had said.

Coalscam: Court allows CBI’s plea to place fresh documents

Coalscam: Court allows CBI's plea to place fresh documents
Coalscam: Court allows CBI’s plea to place fresh documents

A special court has allowed a plea filed byCBI seeking its permission to place on record some fresh documents and adding names of six more witnesses in acoal block allocation case involving Delhi-based Rathi Steel and Power Limited (RSPL) and its three officials.

The agency had moved an application before Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar saying names of six witnesses were “inadvertently” not mentioned in the list of witnesses at the time of filing of charge sheet by investigating officer (IO).

“It will be also worthwhile to mention that the present case is at its initial stage and the recording of evidence of prosecution witnesses is yet to commence and thus in my considered opinion no prejudice will be caused to the accused persons if the present application is allowed,” the judge said.

Senior public prosecutor V K Sharma told the court that these six witnesses had produced certain documents before the IO during the probe.

Regarding the documents which were sought to be placed on record by CBI, the prosecutor said that they would be relevant for proper adjudication of the case.

The counsel appearing for the accused opposed CBI’s plea contending that their application was silent as to by whose “inadvertent mistake the documents could not be earlier placed on record or the names of some witnesses could not be added.” The defence counsel also argued that great prejudice would be caused to the accused if CBI’s application was allowed.

While allowing CBI’s plea, the judge also said, “At the outset, I may state that undoubtedly while filing the charge sheet CBI ought to have been careful in placing on record all the relevant and relied upon documents and for also mentioning the names of all witnesses in the list of witnesses.” The court had earlier put on trial RSPL and its three top officials – Managing Director Pradeep Rathi, Chief Executive Officer Udit Rathi and AGM Kushal

Aggarwal – for alleged offences of cheating and criminal conspiracy.

The case pertains to alleged irregularities in allocation of Kesla North coal block in Chhattisgarh to RSPL.

Coal scam: Court allows Naveen Jindal to travel abroad

Coal scam: Court allows Naveen Jindal to travel abroad
Coal scam: Court allows Naveen Jindal to travel abroad

Congress leader and industrialist Naveen Jindal, accused in a coal block allocation scam case along with 14 others, was today allowed by a special court to travel abroad from June 14 to June 29 for business purposes.

Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar allowed the plea filed by Jindal seeking the court’s permission to go abroad.

Jindal was earlier granted bail by the court which had imposed several conditions on him, including that he will not leave the country without the court’s nod.

During the hearing, the counsel appearing for Jindal told the court to clarify that no advocate had approached the judge earlier in the matter.

The submissions by Jindal’s counsel came in the wake of the court’s June 1 observation in which the judge had warned the accused of such misdemeanours in future after it came to light that one of the accused associated with the Jindal Group firm had allegedly tried to approach the judge.

The judge clarified that it was not a lawyer who had approached him in connection with the case.

During the hearing on June 1, senior advocate Hariharan, who appeared for Jindal, had told the court that the Jindal Group management has taken a strong note of the issue and promised the judge that such a behaviour will not recur.    According to a court source, the accused had allegedly tried to approach the judge after which the court had cautioned and warned him that he would take action if such an attempt was repeated.

Rajeev Jain, Director of Jindal Realty Pvt Ltd, Girish Kumar Suneja, Director of Gagan Sponge Iron Pvt Ltd (GSIPL), are among the other accused in the case.

The judge had told the lawyers appearing for all the accused that it has “again happened” and he will mention about it in the case record.

“I am very sorry to say that with such senior lawyers appearing in the case, I had not expected that it would happen,” the judge had said without disclosing the identity of the accused who had approached him.

The court had fixed the matter for scrutiny of documents filed by the CBI on June 30.

The case pertains to alleged irregularities in the allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in Jharkhand to two Jindal group companies, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) and Gagan Sponge Iron Pvt Ltd (GSIPL).

Coal scam : Have approached MoC on sanction issue, CBI to court

Coal scam : Have approached MoC on sanction issue, CBI to court
Coal scam : Have approached MoC on sanction issue, CBI to court

CBI today told a special court that it has approached Ministry of Coal (MoC) to ascertain status of its request for sanction to prosecute a public servant, who has now retired, for his alleged role in a coal scam case allegedly involving Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Darda.

The agency said that MoC officer L S Janoti, against whom sanction was pending, has retired now and they have written a letter to the Joint Secretary of the ministry on the issue.

“It has been submitted by senior public prosecutor that L S Janoti, the section officer, qua whom sanction was sought from the competent authority has since superannuated. It was further submitted that a letter has been sent to the Joint Secretary, MoC, to ascertain about the status of request of CBI qua sanction to prosecute L S Janoti but no reply has yet been received,” Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar said.

During the hearing, CBI’s prosecutor sought some time to apprise the court on the issue after which the judge posted the matter for hearing on June 29.

The court, in its January 30 order, had observed that former Minister of State for Coal Santosh Bagrodia, ex-Coal Secretary H C Gupta and Janoti had allegedly committed criminal misconduct and facilitated AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd to unlawfully obtain a coal block.

It had asked CBI to further probe the case in which the agency has chargesheeted Vijay Darda, his son Devendra Darda, Director of AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd Manoj Jayaswal and the firm, as accused.

In its order, the court had observed that Bagrodia, Gupta and Janoti had allegedly entered into a criminal conspiracy with private parties in the allocation of Bander coal block in Maharashtra to AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd.

The court had earlier granted bail to Vijay Darda, Devendra and Jayaswal after they had appeared before it. Vijay Darda has denied the allegations against him.

Seeking nod to prosecute official in coalscam: CBI

CBI today told a special court that it has sent the necessary records of a coalscam case to the authority concerned for considering grant of sanction to prosecute a Ministry of Coal (MoC) official for his alleged role in the matter.  The agency’s move came after the court on January 30 had said that former Minister of State for Coal Santosh Bagrodia, ex-Coal Secretary H C Gupta and MoC official L S Janoti had allegedly committed criminal misconduct and facilitated AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd to unlawfully obtain a coal block.

“It is submitted by the senior public prosecutor that the necessary relevant records have been sent to the authority for considering according sanction to prosecute public servant involved. Accordingly, put up for March 31,” Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar said.

CBI had earlier apprised the court that administrative approval was obtained for sending records to the competent authority for considering grant of sanction to prosecute the public servant for his alleged role in the case.

The court, in its January 30 order, had asked CBI to further investigate the case in which the agency has already chargesheeted Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Darda, his son Devendra Darda, Director of AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd Manoj Jayaswal and the firm, as accused.

It had noted that Bagrodia, Gupta and Janoti had allegedly entered into a conspiracy with private parties in the allocation of Bander coal block in Maharashtra to AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd.

The court had also said that out of these three persons, only Janoti was still in active government service and prior sanction of the competent authority was required to prosecute him for offence punishable under Prevention of Corruption Act.

Coal scam: CBI completes probe in Hindalco case

CBI on Thursady filed its final probe report in a coal block allocation case allegedly involving former Coal Secretary P C Parakh, Hindalco and others before the special court which will consider it on March 11.

Senior public prosecutor V K Sharma told the court that the agency has completed the investigation and one more witness has been examined during the course of probe and they are filing his statement in a sealed cover.

“Further investigation is complete. We have further examined one more witness. We are filing his statement in a sealed cover. Our final investigation is over now,” Sharma told Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar.

The court said that it would now consider the CBI’s final report in the case on March 11 and if required it will seek clarifications from the agency.

“Final compliance report has been filed by Investigating Officer along with statement of one more witness in a sealed cover…. The matter be now put up for consideration on March 11,” the judge said.

During the hearing, the prosecutor told the court that they are also filing all the materials and documents related to the case in the court. The case pertains to allocation of Talabira II coal block in Orissa to M/s Hindalco in 2005.

The CBI, in its FIR, had named Parakh, industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla, M/s Hindalco Industries Ltd and other unknown persons for the offences under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

However, later, the agency had filed a closure report in the court which had refused to accept it. The court, in its December 16 order, had directed the agency to examine Manmohan Singh and some top PMO officials, including Singh’s then Principal Secretary T K A Nair and then private secretary B V R Subramanyam.

Parakh and Hindalco have denied any wrongdoing.

Coal scam: CBI draws flak for taking “U-turn” in final reports

CBI today drew flak from the Special Court for taking “U-turn” on investigation of various coal scam cases and filing final reports, without giving any plausible reasons for arriving at such conclusions.

It also directed the probe agency to provide “some logical and legally admissible reasons” in all final reports in future to buttress the conclusion arrived at.

“Repeatedly, in a number of cases it is being found that after mentioning all the incriminating evidence as is discovered during the course of investigation, the final report suddenly takes a u-turn and seeks closure of the case without mentioning any reason supporting the conclusion so drawn, much less any plausible reasons,” Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar said.

The court observed that in almost all final reports submitted by CBI, a standardised

paragraph in almost identical words was mentioned towards the end while recommending closure of the case.

“The final reports are however always silent as to on what basis this final conclusion is drawn by the investigating officer. Moreover when enquiry is made in this regard from the IO, then the usual reply submitted is that opinion in the matter was given by the legal branch of the agency and the final decision is taken by the senior officers,” it said ..

The court further said if any such opinion is given by the legal branch of the agency or such a decision is taken by the senior officers, then at least that opinion or final decision should find a mention in the report supporting the conclusion seeking closure of a case.

“It is thus expected that in all final reports to be submitted in future the conclusion being arrived at should be supported by some logical and legally admissible reasons so that the Court may appreciate the final report in the light of the said reasons,” it said.

The court’s observation came while ordering further probe in a coal scam case in which CBI had filed a supplementary report stating that though some incriminating evidence has come up on record against some public servants, but these were found to be insufficient warranting their prosecution.

The report had further sought closure of the case saying no evidence with regard to any pecuniary advantage taken by the public servants has come on record and hence, dishonest intention or criminal intent could not be established.

The CBI had earlier chargesheeted Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Darda, his son Devendra Darda, Director of AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd Manoj Jayaswal and the firm, as accused in the case pertaining to allocation of Bander coal block in Maharashtra to the accused firm.

 

Coalscam: Passport auth. Can’t sit over matters

A special court today rapped passport authorities for “sitting over” matters relating to impounding of or releasing passports and directed them to fix a time-frame to decide on such issues.

“I am constrained to remind the concerned passport authorities that in all such cases they are duty bound to proceed further in the matter as per law i.E. Either to proceed to impound the passport or not to impound it. They however cannot simply sit over the matter,” Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar said.

His observations came during the hearing of a coal scam case involving Madhya Pradesh-based company Kamal Sponge Steel and Power Ltd (KSSPL) in which it had issued a show cause notice on December 15 last year to Passport Officer, Bhopal for adopting lackadaisical attitude on the application of accused Pawan Kumar Ahluwalia seeking return of his passport.

“It is thus incumbent of all the passport authorities to lay down specific time-frame during which necessary action in any matter, be it impounding or release of passport or any other proceedings, are carried out by the concerned officers lest the public at large is made to run here and there or approach the courts of law,” the court said.

It also noted that if passport authorities find that no action needs to be initiated at their end then at least they can return the passport back to the concerned agency.

The court withdrew the show cause notice issued to the Passport Officer, Bhopal after a reply was filed through his counsel submitting that an explanation has been sought from the officer who failed to make proper submissions before the court on the issue during an earlier hearing.

The court further directed the Passport Officer, Bhopal to ensure that whenever any officer is deputed to attend the court proceedings, proper submissions should be made before it