Coalscam: Court returns CBI's charge sheet

Coalscam: Court returns CBI's charge sheet

CBI has got a jolt in the Coal blocks allocation scam probe as a special court has "returned" its charge sheet in a case involving a Kolkata-based company, saying it has failed to give any plausible explanation on its queries and reasons for dropping four accused from it.

The case involves allocation of coal blocks to Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd in Jharkhand's Rajhara town in which its directors and unknown public servants of the Ministry of Coal, Government of Jharkhand and others were made accused in the FIR lodged by the CBI in September 2012.

The agency came up with its charge sheet before Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar who asked certain queries from the investigating officer (IO) regarding the final report in which eight accused have been chargesheeted while four have been dropped for want of prosecutable evidence.

The court noted that CBI has not given any "legally admissible logic" for keeping four persons away from the involvement of criminality by merely saying that "no prosecutable evidence could be collected against them during the course of investigation".

"A perusal of the charge sheet also shows that as regard accused No. 1 company i.e. M/s Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd only one Director has been arrayed as an accused while other 4 accused persons (named in FIR) have not been chargesheeted.

"...A bare perusal of the report tobeen filed shows that there is no legally admissible logic or reasoning in the final report which could correlate conclusion of their being no prosecutable evidence against 4 accused persons viz-a-viz the nature of investigation carried out as find mention in the final report under section 173 CrPC," the special judge said.

The court also observed that IO was unable to "furnish any plausible explanation" on the queries raised by it.

CBI has informed the court that four of the eight accused chargesheeted by it were public servants out of whom two have already retired.

It also said that the other two accused public servants -- Basant Kumar Bhatacharya and Bipin Bihari Singh -- are still in government service and sanction for their prosecution has not been received yet.

To this, the judge said, "In these circumstances, the charge sheet is hereby accordingly returned with the direction that the same may be filed after obtaining necessary sanction, if available, qua the two working public servants and other necessary clarifications as have been mentioned herein above."

After CBI informed the court that sanction to prosecute the two public servants was still awaited, the judge said that cognisance of the offence could not be taken against them.

"Certainly in the absence of sanction under section 19 Prevention of Corruption Act, the cognizance of the offences cannot be taken against the two accused persons i.e. accused No. 4 and 5 (Bhatacharya and Singh).

"In these circumstances it will not be proper to take part-cognizance of various offences qua certain accused persons and to defer the same qua other accused persons," the judge observed.

CBI had registered the case under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with 420 (cheating) of IPC and under various provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act against Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd, its directors -- Sanjeev Kumar Tulsyan, Prashant Tulsyan, Vaibhav Tulsyan, Nisha Tulsyan, Vimal Kumar Tulsyan, Nirmala Tulsyan and Hemant Kumar Aggarwal.

Besides them, Navin Kumar Tulsyan, a chartered accountant, along with unknown officials of Ministry of Coal and Jharkhand government and others were also named as accused in the FIR.

In its FIR, CBI had alleged that the firm had applied for allocation of coal blocks, including Rajhara North (central and eastern) coal block in Jharkhand having geological reserve of 17.09 MMT.

It had said initially Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd was not having recommendation of either the Ministry of Steel or Jharkhand government but the then Jharkhand chief secretary, who had attended 36th Screening Committee meeting on July 3, 2008, had signed minutes of the committee which had recommended allocation in favour of the firm.

CBI had alleged that Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd had fraudulently claimed an inflated net worth and the ownership of the firm too had changed hands during the intervening period of the 36th Screening Committee.

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