Coal scam: Court orders framing of charges against Madhu Koda, 8 others
New Delhi: Former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda, ex-Coal Secretary H C Gupta, former Jharkhand Chief Secretary Ashok Kumar Basu and six others were on Tuesday ordered to be put on trial by a special court on charges of corruption, criminal conspiracy and cheating in connection with a coal block allocation scam case.
Besides them, Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar ordered framing of charges against two public servants, Basant Kumar Bhattacharya and Bipin Bihari Singh, Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd (VISUL), its director Vaibhav Tulsyan, Koda's alleged close aide Vijay Joshi and chartered accountant Navin Kumar Tulsyan.
The court ordered framing of charges against these nine accused for offences under various sections of IPC, including 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) and under relevant provisions of the PC Act.
The court has now fixed July 31 for formal framing of charges and directed all the accused to remain present in the court on that day.
"I have ordered framing of charges against all the accused... put up for formal framing of charges on July 31," the judge said.
The case pertains to the alleged irregularities in allocation of Rajhara North coal block in Jharkhand to Kolkata-based VISUL.
These accused were summoned for alleged offences under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with 420 (cheating) and 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servants) of IPC and under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Earlier on May 29, the CBI had told the court that Koda, Basu and two other accused public servants conspired with each other to somehow favour VISUL in the coal block allocation despite the fact that state government had initially recommended two other firms for it.
It had alleged that Basu, who had attended the meeting of screening committee, insisted that VISUL should be recommended for the allocation.
The prosecutor had said that even the Steel Ministry had not recommended VISUL for Rajhara north coal block allocation. The probe agency had told the court that Koda, who was the then Chief Minister of Jharkhand, had himself approved the names of two other companies for Rajhara north coal block allocation and that file had passed through Gupta as well.
Regarding the two other accused public servants – Basant Kumar Bhattacharya and Bipin Bihari Singh -- the CBI said they had written the note in favour of VISUL "without any reason".
These accused persons were earlier granted bail by the court after they had appeared before it in pursuance to the summons issued against them.
CBI, in its charge sheet, had said that VISUL had applied for allocation of Rajhara North coal block on January 8, 2007 to the Ministry of Coal.
CBI had alleged that although Jharkhand government and the Steel Ministry did not recommend VISUL's case for the coal block allocation, the 36th Screening Committee recommended the block to the accused firm.