The ED has attached a Chhattisgarh-based steel plant and its machinery worth Rs 206 crore in connection with its money laundering probe in the coal scam case. The central probe agency said the plant is located in Dagori area in the Bilaspur district of the state and belongs to a company identified as Ms Jayaswal Neco Industries Limited. A provisional attachment order, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), attaching the Rs 206 crore worth assets of the steel plant has been issued by the Enforcement Directorate, it said. The ED booked a criminal case against the firm and others to probe money laundering charges, based on a CBI FIR, registered to probe alleged irregularities in the coal blocks allocation. The CBI had earlier filed a charge sheet against the firm.
The agency, in a statement, said the company had obtained the Gare Palma-sub block IV/4 coal block “through fraudulent means by making misrepresentation and the company resorted to illegal use of coal mined in their captive power plant (CPP) without any permission from the central government.” As per the allocation letter, it said, the company had “to wash the coal in a washery to 20 per cent ash level and the middling/rejects produced during the process to be used in its CPP. “However, the coal was used directly in their sponge iron plant and the CPP, without setting up a washery or without any approval for its use in the CPP directly,” it said.
The agency said its investigation found that the company “had extracted 3.8 million tonnes of coal during the period 2006-2015 from the coal field allotted to it. It said the firm used the “entire” coal mined from the block for production of steel and power in its plant and “therefore, the profit accrued out of sale of such steel and power has been accumulated in the reserve and surplus of the company and the company, during the period under consideration, has expanded its production capacity and fixed assets.
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“After deducting the royalty and the additional cess paid by the company, it is seen that the company had benefited to the extent of Rs 206 crore on account of extraction of coal from the block which is part of the proceeds of crime derived as a result of criminal activity relating to the schedule offence (the CBI case of corruption in the allocation of coal blocks),” it said. An attachment order issued by the ED under PMLA is aimed to deprive the accused from taking benefits of their ill- gotten wealth and it is confirmed by the Adjudicating Authority of the PMLA within 180 days. The ED is probing close to two dozen cases as part of its probe in the coal blocks allocation, which are also being probed by the CBI.