Coal Scam: Court to Hear Koda's Petition Seeking Summoning of Ex-PM on September

New Delhi
Coal Scam: Court to Hear Koda's Petition Seeking Summoning of Ex-PM on September
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+0553

Ex-Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda's plea seeking summoning of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and two others as additional accused in a coal scam case will be heard on September 2, a Special Court today said.

Former MP Naveen Jindal and others were earlier chargesheeted by CBI in the case.

Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar also posted the matter for arguments on framing of charges in the case from October 5 to October 8 after all the accused said that scrutiny of documents filed along with the charge sheet was complete.

During the hearing, the counsel appearing for former Coal Secretary H C Gupta also moved an application seeking dropping of proceedings against him on account of lack of sanction to try him for the alleged offences in the case.

The court fixed Gupta's application for hearing on September 3.

As soon as the proceedings commenced, Gupta's counsel moved the application, saying it should be heard before arguments on framing of charges as the matter involves legal issues.

Koda's counsel also said that his plea for summoning the former Prime Minister, who was also the Coal Minister at that time, and two others as additional accused in the case, should be heard before the stage of arguments on framing of charges.

Initially the court asked both the defence counsel that they can advance their arguments on their respective pleas simultaneously with the arguments on charges but the advocates said that their matters should be heard first.

"In view of the submissions made by the defence counsel, the matter is now adjourned for arguments on applications moved by accused no 8 (Koda) and 9 (Gupta) for September 2 and 3 and the matter thereafter be fixed for arguments on framing of charges from October 5 to 8," the judge said.

Jindal, Koda, Gupta and 12 others were chargesheeted by CBI in a case pertaining to alleged irregularities in allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in Jharkhand to two Jindal group companies, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) and Gagan Sponge Iron Private Ltd (GSIPL). 

Koda, in his application, has sought summoning of the former Prime Minister as an accused in the case by submitting before the court that the "ultimate final authority" could not be allowed to go "scot-free" without facing trial.

He had moved the application for summoning Singh as an accused along with Anand Swaroop, the then Secretary (Energy), and Jai Shankar Tiwari, the then Secretary (Mines and Geology), contending that CBI's "theory of conspiracy" remains incomplete without the involvement of the then Prime Minister who was also holding the portfolio of Coal Minister.

In his plea, Koda had said, "The materials placed by CBI shows that the said conspiracy, if any, cannot be complete without the involvement of the Coal Minister (Singh) who had the final say in the entire allotment.

"The materials on record show that the Coal Minister was aware of the facts of the case and had taken the decision consciously with full application of mind to allot coal block to JSPL and GSIPL...Which according to the CBI is the result of conspiracy and is illegal. Hence, he (Singh) is also required to be summoned," the plea had said.

Regarding Swaroop and Tiwari, Koda had said they were part of the three-member sub-group formed by the Jharkhand government to evaluate pleas of firms and suggest suitable application for recommendation by the state.

He alleged that as per evidence placed on record by CBI, Swaroop and Tiwari had specifically recommended for withdrawal of recommendations made in favour of M/s Lanco Infratech and further recommended for enhancement of shares of M/s JSPL from 30 per cent to 70 per cent.

Besides Jindal, Koda and Gupta, former Minister of State for Coal Dasari Narayan Rao and 11 others, including five firms, are accused in the case.

The other individual accused in the case are -- Rajeev Jain, Director of Jindal Realty Pvt Ltd, Girish Kumar Suneja and Radha Krishna Saraf, Directors of GSIPL, Suresh Singhal, Director of New Delhi Exim Pvt Ltd, K Ramakrishna Prasad, Managing Director of Sowbhagya Media Ltd and chartered accountant Gyan Swaroop Garg.

Besides the ten accused, five firms -- JSPL, Jindal Realty Pvt Ltd, Gagan Infraenergy Ltd (formerly known as GSIPL), Sowbhagya Media Ltd and New Delhi Exim Pvt Ltd -- are also accused in the case.

While summoning them as accused, the court had said prima facie offences under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with sections 409(criminal breach of trust by public servant), 420 (cheating) of IPC read with sections 13(1)(c) and 13(1)(d) (criminal misconduct by a public servant) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

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