But told not to leave India sans permission
Special CBI court on Friday granted bail to Jindal Steel & Power (JSPL) chairman Naveen Jindal, former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda, former minister of state for coal Dasari Narayan Rao, former coal secretary HC Gupta and six others after warning them against tampering with evidence or influencing witnesses in a coal block allocation case.
The accused were summoned by the court in the case relating to the alleged irregularities in allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in Jharkhand to two Jindal group firms, Jindal Steel and Power (JSPL) and Gagan Sponge Iron (GSIPL) in 2008.
Special judge Bharat Parashar granted bail to all 10 individuals on a personal bond of R1 lakh each with one surety of the same amount. The accused have been told not to leave India without the court’s permission and fixed June 1 as the next date of hearing.
The other accused who were granted bail are Suresh Singhal, director of New Delhi Exim, Rajeev Jain, director of Jindal Realty, Girish Kumar Suneja and Radha Krishna Saraf, both directors of Gagan Sponge Iron (GSIPL), K Ramakrishna Prasad, managing director of Sowbhagya Media and chartered accountant Gyan Swaroop Garg. The authorised representatives of five accused firms — Jindal Steel (JSPL), Jindal Realty, Gagan Infraenergy (formerly known as GSIPL), Sowbhagya Media and New Delhi Exim — also appeared before the court.
While granting bail, the court said undoubtedly the allegations against the accused persons were serious in nature and more so as they occupied high position in the society.
“However, it is also true that during the course of investigation, none of the accused were arrested by CBI and there has been no allegation that they did not join the investigation as and when called for,” it said.
All the accused appeared before the trial court and sought bail on the ground they have joined the investigation and there was no apprehension that they would flee from justice.
CBI had filed a chargesheet against against 15, including five companies for an alleged conspiracy in securing the coal block. The accused were chargesheeted for alleged offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating, criminal conspiracy and misconduct in securing the block, and under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The special court had earlier summoned former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and others as accused in a separate coal block allocation case. The summoning order was later stayed by the Supreme Court.
After the court’s hearing, JSPL, in a statement said, “The court was informed that there was no loss or gain to anyone as no exploration could be undertaken in the said coal block because of intense naxal activities in that area. The company has not violated any rules and regulations, and allocation was made to the company purely on merit. The company has full faith in judiciary and is confident to come out clean and stand vindicated, upon outcome of the legal process, as there is no substantial case against any accused.”