Coalscam: Court grants bail to three top officials of RSPL

Coalscam: Court grants bail to three top officials of RSPL

Three top officials of Delhi-based Rathi Steel and Power Limited (RSPL), including its Managing Director Pradeep Rathi and Chief Executive Officer Udit Rathi, were today granted bail by a special court in a coal blocks allocation scam case.

Besides them, the court also enlarged RSPL's AGM Kushal Aggarwal on bail after these three accused appeared before it in pursuance to the summons issued against them.

The court on March 2 had summoned RSPL and its three top officials as accused in the coal scam case pertaining to the alleged irregularities in allocation of Kesla North coal block in Chhattisgarh to the company for alleged offences under sections 120-B(criminal conspiracy) and 420(cheating) of IPC.

"Keeping in view the over all facts and circumstances.... the fact that the accused persons were not arrested during the course of investigation and there are no allegations that they did not join the investigation, I am of the considered opinion that the interest of justice will be suitably met if the accused persons are ordered to be released on bail..," Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar said.

The court granted them bail on furnishing a personal bond of Rs one lakh each with a surety of the like amount.

While granting bail to the three accused, the court said they would not leave the country without its prior permission and would not tamper with the documents, evidence or approach the prosecution witnesses in any manner.

During the hearing, senior public prosecutor V K Sharma said CBI was supplying documents and copy of the charge sheet to all the accused after which the court directed the defence counsel to contact the investigating officer in case of any deficiency in it.

The court has fixed the case for further proceedings on March 18.
The CBI had chargesheeted the firm and Udit Rathi only as accused in the case for alleged offences of criminal conspiracy and cheating. RSPL was allocated Kesla North coal block in Korba, Chhattisgarh on August 5, 2008.

During the arguments on the bail pleas, the counsel appearing for the accused contended that their clients were not arrested during the probe and there was no allegation that they have not cooperated in the investigation.

The counsel argued that there was no allegation that the accused had tried to tamper with the evidence in any manner.

Opposing the bail pleas of the three accused, CBI said they had conspired and misrepresented the facts before the screening committee to acquire the coal block.

The court had issued summons to the accused after taking cognisance of CBI's charge sheet while observing that they allegedly "deceived" the Ministry of Coal by "misrepresenting" facts regarding possession of land which was a key factor in allocation of coal block.

It had noted that these officials had appeared before the screening committee for making presentation and submitting a feedback form on February 7, 2008 on behalf of RSPL.

CBI had lodged an FIR against RSPL, its directors, Udit Rathi and members of the 36th screening committee and other unknown persons for the offences under section 120-B, 420 of IPC and under provision of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The charge sheet was later on filed against RSPL and Udit Rathi only. Regarding other directors of RSPL or members of 36th screening committee, CBI had said allegations against them could not be substantiated during the probe.

CBI had also told the court that "on account of procedural lapses noticed on part of MOC officers, action has been recommended against them to the government."

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