A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Thursday framed additional charges for abetting bribery against industrialist and former Congress MP Naveen Jindal and some others in connection with the allocation of the Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in Jharkhand. Special judge Bharat Parashar framed criminal conspiracy and other charges including cheating and criminal breach of trust against Jindal and others for allegedly giving `2 crore as bribe to the then minister of state for coal in 2007 for allotment of a captive coal block. The charges were framed after Jindal pleaded not guilty and claimed trial. If held guilty, Jindal may get a maximum of five years’ imprisonment. Similar charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating and criminal breach of trust were also framed against other accused, including former coal secretary HC Gupta, after they claimed trial.
The court said though there was “prima facie” evidence that the then MoS, coal, Dasari Narayan Rao, took `2 crore as bribe, no formal charge was being framed considering that he has passed away. In April 2016, the court ordered framing of charges against Jindal, Rao, former coal secretary HC Gupta and 11 others for alleged offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating, criminal breach of trust under the Indian Penal Code and sections of Prevention of Corruption Act in the case. However, the charge under Section 12 (punishment for abetment of offences defined in Section 7 (public servant taking gratification) or Section 11 (public servant obtaining valuable thing, without consideration from person concerned in proceeding or business transacted by such public servant)) of Prevention of Corruption Act was not framed then.
The court has posted the matter for further hearing on August 31, when the charge will be framed against then Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda. The court also framed criminal conspiracy charge against Jindal Steel and Power’s then adviser Anand Goel, Nihar Stocks director BSN Suryanarayan and Mumbai’s Essar Power executive vice-chairman Sushil Kumar Maroo. The three were named in an additional charge sheet filed by the agency in the case. The CBI had alleged that Koda had favoured Jindal group firms — JSPL and Gagan Sponge Iron — in allocation of the Amarkonda Murgadangal block.