Coal Scam: ED Files Case Against Ex-MoS Rao, Jindal

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has slapped money laundering charges against former Minister of State in the Coal Ministry Dasari Narayana Rao and Congress MP Naveen Jindal in connection with its probe in the Coal blocks allocation case.

The agency, which has registered an FIR under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), taking cognisance of the CBI complaints in these allocations, has also named members and officials of the 35th screening committee (government constituted multi-member body).

Others include Ms Gagan Sponge Iron Pvt Ltd, Ms Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL), Ms Jindal Realty Pvt Ltd, Ms New Delhi Exim Pvt Ltd, Ms Sowbhagya Media Ltd besides unknown persons in its complaint in this case.

The agency, according to sources, has framed the charges after it found multi-layered transactions between the firms owned by Jindal to Rao's firms based in Hyderabad and "illegal money" was routed for alleged favours given for the allocation of coal firms to Jindal in Jharkhand in 2008 by Rao.

The same charges have been made by the CBI in their criminal complaint under the Prevention of Corruption Act against these individuals and firms.

The anti-laundering agency has now begun ascertaining banking and other transactions made by the accused firms and individuals even as it is evaluating movable and immovable assets of those named in the FIR.

The ED, till now, has registered similar cases under the PMLA against all those who have been booked by the CBI in the Coal blocks allocation case.

During the course of the same investigation, the ED will also look into the issue of any foreign exchange "contravention" by all these firms which have now been asked by the agency to furnish relevant documents, the sources said. 

The other firms against whom the cases have been registered include Castron Technologies Ltd, Jharkhand Ispat Private Limited, Pushp Steel and Mining Pvt Ltd, RSPL, Grace Industries, Jharkhand Ispat, Green Infrastructure, Hindalco, BLA Industries and Nav Bharat Power Private Limited.

The agency, according to sources, has taken cognisance of the over 17 FIRs filed by CBI in this case and it will investigate if these firms laundered illegal money and generated "proceeds of crime" in the entire process of coal allocation.

The probe by both the agencies in this case is being monitored by the Supreme Court.

CBI registered the FIRs in this case after it conducted three preliminary enquiries related to coal block allocations between 2006 and 2009, 1993 and 2004 and projects given under a government scheme.

According to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), an estimated loss of Rs 1.86 lakh crores was caused to the national exchequer in the coal block allocation scam.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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