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Coal scam: CBI searches cupboards in Jindal's residence

New Delhi, June 21, 2013, (PTI) 22:57 IST
File Photo.
CBI today opened cupboards of Congress MP Naveen Jindal, who returned last night from abroad, after he was asked to join its probe in the allocation of a coal block to his company Jindal Steel and Power Ltd.

During the searches conducted on June 11, CBI was unable to complete its operation at Jindal's 6-Prithviraj Road residence here as some of the cupboards and almirahs were locked and they could only be unlocked by the MP who was out with his family at that time.

CBI sources said that a search team went to his residence this morning and searched the cupboards and almirahs in the presence of Jindal, who has been named in its FIR along with former Minister of State for Coal D Narayan Rao for alleged cheating and graft.

CBI had communicated to Jindal to join the probe as soon as possible since these cupboards and almirahs could be opened only after his arrival.

According to the FIR, JSPL and Gagan Sponge Iron Ltd, also a firm belonging to Jindal, had bagged Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in Jharkhand in 2008 by alleged misrepresentation of facts when Rao was the Minister of State for Coal.

Within a year, a block was allocated to JSPL in January 2008, CBI sources claimed, noting that shares of Rao's firm Saubhagya Media listed at Rs 28 that time were purchased by one of Jindal's firm -- New Delhi Exim Ltd -- at a whopping Rs 100 per share with total investment of nearly Rs 2.25 crore which is alleged to be illegal gratification.

Head of External Affairs at JSPL, Manu Kapoor had earlier said, "JSPL, as a law abiding company, is governed by a strong ethical code of conduct. This is an ongoing CBI investigation into coal block allocation. At this stage of investigation, JSPL is committed to fully cooperate with CBI."

CBI claimed that JSPL submitted in January, 2007 that they had only three coal blocks with them whereas actually they had at least six coal blocks.

The sources said this was done to boost their eligibility for the Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block as the government was mulling to avoid monopoly of a single company by not allocating large number of blocks to a single firm.

They said in the account books of New Delhi Exim, the said money was shown as loans from Jindal Realty which in turn had received the money as loan from Gagan Sponge Iron Ltd to show it as a genuine investment.

Besides Jindal and Rao, CBI has also booked companies Jindal Steel and Power Ltd, Gagan Sponge Iron Ltd, Jindal Realty and ND Exim and Rao's company Saubhagya Media.

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