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ED files charge sheet against Naveen Jindal, others in coal scam case

Legal woes for industrialist Naveen Jindal compounded in a coal block allocation case as a special court here framed additional charges of abetment of bribery in the CBI case against him today


PTI 13 Jul 2018, 09:13 PM India

Legal woes for industrialist Naveen Jindal compounded in a coal block allocation case as a special court here framed additional charges of abetment of bribery in the CBI case against him today and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) also swung into action by filing a charge sheet for money laundering.

While the ED filed the charge sheet against Jindal and 14 others for alleged money laundering, special judge Bharat Parashar said the charge will formally be framed for abetment of bribery against the Congress leader on August 16.

The case pertains to the allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in Jharkhand.

In its final report, the ED alleged that Jindal's firm - Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) - along with former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda, former coal secretary H C Gupta and others influenced the screening committee to allot the coal block by investing more than Rs 2 crore in illegal gratification.

The court put up the charge sheet, filed through special public prosecutor N K Matta and advocate Tarannum Cheema against Jindal and 14 other accused, for consideration on August 14.

Earlier in the day, the court ordered framing of an additional charge of abetment of bribery against Jindal in the case pertaining to irregularities in the allocation of the coal block.

JSPL spokesperson said in a statement, "We are not at all surprised that additional charges are again being framed against some of our ex-employees in the same case, more than 3 years after filing of the first charge sheet. It is apparent that these additional charges, like the earlier ones, have emanated from misconstrued facts and evidences without proper appreciation on legally tenable basis. These charges are completely false, frivolous and devoid of any merits. We have done no wrong and are confident that the truth will emerge during the course of the trial, vindicating our stand. We have full faith in our judiciary."

It said, "We at JSPL are undeterred with such frivolous cases and assure all our stakeholders to have no cause of concern with such news."

The court had in April 2016 ordered framing of charges against Jindal, former MoS for Coal Dasari Narayan Rao (since deceased), Koda, Gupta and 11 others for the alleged offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating, criminal breach of trust under the IPC and sections of Prevention of Corruption Act in the case.

However, the charge under section 12 (punishment for abetment of offences defined in section 7 (public servant taking gratification) or 11 (public servant obtaining valuable thing, without consideration from person concerned in proceeding or business transacted by such public servant)) of Prevention of Corruption Act was not framed then.

The case pertains to allocation of the Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in Jharkhand.

In today's order, the court said the charge under section 7 of the Act was made out against Rao, but since he was deceased, the charge will not be framed against him.

The court also ordered framing of section 120-B (criminal conspiracy against Jindal Steel's then adviser Anand Goel, Nihar Stocks Ltd Director BSN Suryanarayan and Mumbai's Essar Power Ltd Executive Vice-Chairman Sushil Kumar Maroo.

The three were named in an additional charge sheet filed by the agency in the case.

The court discharged Mumbai-based KE International's Chief Financial Officer Rajeev Aggarwal and Gurgaon-based Green Infra's Vice-President Siddharth Madra from the case, citing lack of evidence against them.

While arguing on charge, CBI's deputy legal adviser V K Sharma had told the court that there were enough evidence against Jindal for trying him under sections 7 and 12 of the Act.

The names of Goel, Madra, Suryanarayan, Aggarwal and Maroo had cropped up in the additional charge sheet filed by the agency in the case.

The CBI had alleged that Koda had favoured Jindal group firms -- JSPL and Gagan Sponge Iron Pvt Ltd (GSIPL) -- in allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal block.

It had later alleged that five accused named in the second charge sheet tried to hamper the investigation and threatened Suresh Singhal, a chartered accountant who was earlier arrayed as an accused but later turned approver.

All the accused have denied the allegations levelled against them and said there was no evidence to show that there was any conspiracy during the coal block allocation process.

The CBI has filed another charge sheet against Jindal and others, including Goel and Maroo, for allegedly cheating the government by misrepresenting facts to get the Madhya Pradesh based Urtan North coal block.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)