Naveen, Dasari booked in coal scam

CBI files another charge sheet in coalgate scam

Naveen, Dasari booked in coal scam

Former minister of state for coal Dasari Narayana Rao and Congress MP Naveen Jindal were booked by the CBI on charges of cheating, graft and criminal misconduct in the coal allotment scam.

The CBI, in its FIR, alleged that Rao accepted Rs 2.25 crore investment in one of his firms which it suspects to be a bribe from industrialist-cum-politician Jindal’s company as the transaction happened after he got a coal block in the  Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in Birbhum, Jharkhand, in 2008.

The CBI accused two Jindal firms—Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) and Gagan Sponge Iron Limited—of  getting Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block by misrepresenting facts when Rao was the minister of state for coal. Rao has already been questioned by the CBI in this regard.

Agency officials also searched to gather evidence needed to substantiate their allegations against the Congress leaders. The agency team carried out coordinated searches at the 6 Prithviraj Road residence of Jindal and offices of his firms in Bikaji Cama Place.

Apart from that, the sleuths also landed at the Telugu filmmaker-turned-politician’s house in the Jubilee Hills in Hyderabad.  Rao was not available for comments to media gathered outside his house.

CBI sources alleged that Jindal firms had tweaked facts on land, water supply and previous allocations so that they could become eligible for getting another block for mining.

 JSPL is accused of not disclosing in application form submitted in January 2007 that they actually had at least six blocks. Instead, they wrote they had only three coal blocks. This was a move, said CBI sources, to offset the possible government attempt of rejecting their case on the grounds of avoiding monopoly of single company.

In less than a year, the Coal Ministry allocated a block to JSPL in January 2008.

Interestingly, around the same time Jindal’s company New Delhi Exim also bought shares of Rao's firm Saubhagya Media, listed at Rs 28 that year, at a whopping Rs 100 per share. Through this route, Congress MP’s firm invested nearly Rs 2.25 crore.

New Delhi Exim’s account books showed investments as loans from Jindal Realty,  which in turn had received the money as loan from Gagan Sponge Iron Limited to show it to be a genuine investment.

JSPL Head of External Affairs Manu Kapoor said in a statement: “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 cooperating with the CBI.”

Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde avoided giving reaction on the CBI naming Jindal and Rao in their FIR in coalgate, saying law will take its course.

“It is their (CBI) job. I will not give my comment. It doesn't matter. Whatever position, if he (Jindal) is involved, according to law they should proceeded,” Shinde. Terming the CBI raids as “too little and too late,”  BJP spokesperson Prakash Javdekar has asked the agency to trace the money trail in this case.

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