In the first sentencing related to the coal scam that rocked the the previous UPA government, a special court on Monday awarded 4-years imprisonment to R.C Rungta and R.S Rungta, brothers and directors of Jharkhand Ispat Private Limited (JIPL). The order held the duo guilty of deceiving and defrauding the government to obtain a coal block allotment for the company and also fined them Rs 5 lakh each.
The special CBI judge Bharat Parasher in judgment noted that the “intention to defraud on the part of the accused persons is writ large on the face of record.” The judge also imposed a fine of Rs 25 lakh on JIPL. The special court was constituted by Supreme Court nearly two years ago with a mandate to try all the cases arising out of probe into irregularities of coal block allocation.
The case pertained to irregularities in allocation of North Dhadu coal block by 27th and 30th screening committees jointly to JIPL and three other firms M/s Electro Steel Casting Ltd, M/s Adhunik Alloys and Power Ltd and M/s Pawanjay Steel and Power Ltd, the court had earlier summoned two others — Ramabatar Kedia and Naresh Mahto — as accused along with JIPL and the Rungtas.
The court had, however, acquitted R C Rungta for the alleged offences under IPC sections 467 (forgery of valuable security), 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating) and 471 (using a forged document as genuine) saying they were not proved against him. Similarly, the court had acquitted R S Rungta for the alleged offences under sections 468 and 471 of the IPC.
The special court is currently hearing 19 other cases investigated by the CBI while two other cases probed by ED are also pending before the court. The companies and executives against whom chargesheet has been filed by CBI include Aditya Birla-promoted Hindalco, Naveen Jindal-promoted JSPL, Rathi Steel and Navbharat Power among host of other firms. Besides, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, who held additional charge of coal ministry between 2006-2009, was also summoned by the special court related to allocation of mine to Hindalco..
In 2012, the comptroller and auditor general (CAG) in its audit report tabled in the parliament estimated that government failure to auction 206 coal mines from 1993-2011 had amounted to a loss of Rs 1.86 lakh crore to the exchequer. However, a bulk of these blocks (165) was allotted during the term of Manmohan Singh-led United progressive Alliance government between 2003-2011