Odisha News Insight

Coal Block Allocation Case: Court grants Bail to Koda, others

Madhu Koda in Coal Block CaseFormer Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda and others were granted bail in a coal block allocation case by a court in New Delhi on Wednesday and were directed not to leave the country without permission. Earlier Wednesday, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) told special judge Bharat Parashar that Koda, former Jharkhand chief secretary Ashok Kumar Basu, ex-coal secretary Harish Chandra Gupta and others conspired to favour Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd (VISUL) over allocation of the Rajhara coal block.

The CBI added that Gupta misled then prime minister Manmohan Singh saying that the recommendation was based on merit.The agency requested the court not to grant them bail and instead put them in jail. However, Koda and the others requested the court to grant them bail as they have co-operated during the investigation of the case.

The accused said they will appear in the court on every date fixed for hearing. All the accused appeared in the court in pursuance of summons issued against them. The other accused who were issued summons are Vini Iron and Steel director Vaibhav Tulsyan, chartered accountant Navin Kumar Tulsyan, two government officials – Basant Kumar Bhatacharya and Bipin Bihari Singh, and the alleged middleman Vijay Joshi.

They were chargesheeted on various charges like cheating and criminal conspiracy under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The probe agency had also named Kolkata-based company VISUL as an accused in the case in a chargesheet filed in Dec last year. The case involves allocation of coal blocks to Vini Iron and Steel in Jharkhand’s Rajhara town in which its directors and unknown public servants of the coal ministry, the Jharkhand government and others were named as accused in the first information report lodged in Sep 2012 .

It said the company was not recommended by either the union steel ministry or the Jharkhand government. However, then Jharkhand chief secretary, who had attended the 36th screening committee meeting July 3, 2008, had signed its minutes recommending the allocation to the firm. The CBI said the company had fraudulently claimed an inflated net worth and its ownership too had changed hands ahead of the 36th screening committee meeting. (IANS)

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