In a major setback for Jindal Steel and Power (JSPL) chairman and former member of Parliament of the Congress party Naveen Jindal, a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Friday ordered framing of charges against him along with former state minister for coal Dasari Narayan Rao and 13 others for criminal conspiracy, cheating and other offences in a coal block allocation scam case.
The case pertains to alleged illegal allocation of the Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in Jharkhand to JSPL and group firm Gagan Sponge Iron (GSIPL) in 2008.
Additionally, the court also ordered initiation of trial proceedings against former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda, former coal secretary HC Gupta and 11 others. Special CBI judge Bharat Parashar said “charges be framed against all accused under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) read with 409 and 420 of IPC and under sections 13(1)(c), 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act”.
The court, however, said charges would be formally framed against the accused later on.
During the hearing of the case, the CBI had claimed that the accused had conspired with each other to get the allocation of the coal block in favour of the two Jindal group firms. Opposing the CBI’s contention, all the accused, including Jindal, Koda and Rao, had said that there was no evidence which shows that they were in any conspiracy during the coal block allocation process.
Apart from the individuals accused in the case, five firms — JSPL, Jindal Realty, Gagan Infraenergy (formerly known as GSIPL), Sowbhagya Media and New Delhi Exim — are also accused in the case.
“We deny all allegations made against our company and its management. We have full faith in the Indian judicial system and are confident to come out clean during the process. The said allocation was made to the company purely on merits and all along the course of the investigation the company and its officials have fully cooperated with the authorities, and whenever asked, explained and provided all the supporting documents,” the Navin Jindal-promoted JSPL said in a statement.
Most analysts were of the view that that the charges are sentiment-based and will have no implications on the financials of JSPL.
What the case is about
* Alleged irregularities in allocation of a coal block in Jharkhand
* Coal block allocated to JSPL and Gagan Sponge Iron in 2008
* Allegation against JSPL was that it had criminally conspired in the allotment charges